GUIDANCE NOTES FOR PARENTS
If you have a concern or complaint
We would like you to tell us about it. We welcome any suggestions for improving our service. Be assured that no matter what you want to tell us, our support and respect for you and your child in the school will not be affected in any way. Please tell us of your concern as soon as possible. It is difficult for us to investigate properly an incident or problem which has happened some time ago.
What to do first
Most concerns can be sorted out quickly by speaking with your child’s class teacher.
All staff will make every effort to resolve your problem informally. They will make sure that they understand what you feel went wrong, and they will explain their own actions to you. They will ask what you would like the school to do to put things right. Of course, this does not mean that in every case they will come round to your point of view, but it will help both you and the school to understand both sides of the question. It may also help to prevent a similar problem arising again.
What to do next
If you are dissatisfied with the teacher’s response, you can make a complaint to the Headteacher. This should be made in writing.
If your complaint is about an action of the Headteacher personally, then you should refer it to the Department of Education and Children.
You may also find it helpful at this stage to have a copy of the full statement of the General Complaints Procedure, as this explains in detail, what procedures are followed. This is available from the school office or the Department. The Headteacher will ask to meet you for a discussion of the problem. Again, you may take a friend or someone else with you if you wish. The Headteacher will conduct a full investigation of the complaint and may interview any members of staff or pupils involved. You will receive a written response to your complaint.
If you are still unhappy
The problem will normally be solved by this stage. However, if you are still not satisfied, you may wish to contact the Department of Education and Children. It will then be investigated by an officer, appointed by the Department of Education and Children, who has no previous knowledge of the problem and so will be able to give it a fresh assessment. You will be invited to attend and speak to the Investigating Officer. The General Complaints Procedure statement explains how these meetings operate.
Complaints about school problems are almost always settled within schools, but in exceptional cases it may be possible to refer the problem to an independent investigator from outside the Department, who will report to the Chief Executive Officer.
Parents and carers can receive independent advice from both the National Confederation of Parent Teacher Associations and the Advisory Centre for Education, 1c Aberdeen Studios, 22 Highbury Grove, London N5 2DQ. Both organisations may offer advice, but will not support individuals in pursuit of a complaint.