Governors of Bloxham Primary School have adopted the following procedure to deal with formal complaints from members of the school community or general public
Dealing with concerns at the earliest opportunity
If parents, pupils or members of the public have concerns they should:
- Discuss their concerns with the member of staff most directly involved and, if not satisfied;
- Discuss their concerns with a senior member of staff and, if not satisfied; (this stage will not apply in small schools)
- Discuss their concerns with the headteacher.
At each stage in the procedure, schools will want to keep in mind ways in which a concern or complaint can be resolved. It might be sufficient to acknowledge that the concern or complaint is valid in whole or in part. In addition, it may be appropriate to offer one or more of the following:
- an apology;
- an explanation;
- an admission that the situation could have been handled differently or better;
- an assurance that the event complained of will not recur;
- an explanation of the steps that have been taken to ensure that it will not happen again;
- an undertaking to review school policies in light of the complaint.
Complainants should be encouraged to state what actions they feel might resolve the problem at any stage. An admission that the school could have handled the situation better is not the same as an admission of negligence. Equally, an effective procedure will identify areas of agreement between the parties. It is also of importance to clarify any misunderstandings that might have occurred as this can create a positive atmosphere in which to discuss any outstanding issues.
Only where all these avenues have been tried and found unsatisfactory should the complainant take a complaint to the Chair of Governors or Clerk to the Governing Body.
If the headteacher considers s/he can do no more to resolve the complaint it should be stated explicitly that the complainant can write to the Chair of Governors if not satisfied. Complainants should be encouraged to take this step because an unresolved complaint can become a festering sore.