Each day Hackthom C.E. Primary School makes many decisions and tries hard to do the best for all the children. Your comments – either positive or negative – are helpful for future planning. You may want to talk to us about a particular aspect of this school which is not a complaint-you may just want to get something “off your chest”. .
We carry out an annual survey each Spring to gather parental views. This is a good opportunity to raise general issues or concerns and provides the school with valuable feedback.
However, if you are dissatisfied about the way your child is being treated, or any actions or lack of action by us, please feel able to let us know at any time.
We know that it can feel uncomfortable to question or challenge, but if you don’t tell us what is worrying you, we cannot explain what we are doing or try to put it right.
If parents/carers, pupils or members of the public have concerns they should initially
discuss their concerns with the member of staff most directly involved. This is best done informally by ‘a quick word’ at drop off time or by telephone or by phoning school to make an appointment.
If not satisfied after this stage an appointment should be made to discuss concerns with the headteacher.
At each stage in the procedure we will attempt to resolve the complaint or concern. 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.
We aim to ensure that:
- Your complaint will be dealt with honestly, politely and in confidence.
- Your complaint will be looked into thoroughly and fairly.
- We will keep you up to date with progress at each stage.
- You will get an apology if we have made a mistake.
- You will be told what we are going to do to put things right.
- Feedback will be actively sought from those voicing complaints in order to minimise complaints and maximise accountability.
How to make a complaint
The First Stage:
If you have a concern about anything we do, or if you wish to make a complaint you can do this by telephone, in person or in writing. We hope that most complaints can be settled quickly and informally, either by putting matters right or by giving you an explanation.
If there is something you are not happy about, or you don’t understand why we are doing something in a particular way, please come in and discuss it with the class teacher at a mutually agreeable time.
If the class teacher cannot help then speak to the Headteacher. Please telephone the school to make an appointment.
The Second Stage:
If you are not satisfied you can complain formally by setting out your complaint in writing to the headteacher, unless the complaint is about the conduct of the headteacher. You should then receive a written response.
The Third Stage:
If your complaint is about the conduct of the headteacher, or if you are dissatisfied with the headteacher’s response to your formal complaint letter, then you will need to contact the governors.
You should send written details of your complaint, with any correspondence and evidence to support your complaint, to the Clerk to the Governors at the school address. If, for some reason, you do not feel able to do so, you should contact the Clerk, via the school, who will record your complaint as a statement for you to sign.
The governors will investigate your complaint and write to advise you of the outcome.
The decision of the governors is normally final; however, if you are dissatisfied with the governors’ response, you may be able to take your complaint to an external body.
For certain complaints about schools maintained by the Local Authority, parents can write to the Secretary of State for Education. You must do this in writing, either by post to:
School Complaints Team
Department for Education
Castle View House
Runcorn, WA7 2GJ
Or, by using the online School Complaints form. This can be accessed at:
You should be aware that the Secretary of State for Education will usually only consider a complaint once the school’s internal processes have been exhausted. For the Secretary of State to intervene in a matter, he would also need to be sure that:
- The school has acted or proposes to act unreasonably in the exercise or performance of its functions under certain legislation
- Or, the school has failed to carry out a duty at all under certain legislation.
It is desirable that differences can be settled informally.
We aim to deal fairly and effectively with complaints which have proved impossible to settle in an informal manner.
All complaints must be handled with care and these processes should be clearly communicated to parents, staff and Governors. At each stage, the complainant will be told what the result is and what is to happen next. The Governing Body will ensure that the complaint has been properly investigated in the school. At any meeting, parents may be accompanied by a friend or representative who may speak on their behalf.
Complaints about the way in which pupils with special educational needs (SEN) are met, in the first place should be taken up with the class teacher. If not satisfied, the next step is to discuss the complaint with the Head who is also the SEN Coordinator. Finally within the school, the complaint should be taken to the Chair of Governors and SEN Governor. In such cases the Chair must inform the Head of Conciliation, Advice and Appeals Service (CAAS).
For other general complaints, which includes things like:-
- Bullying or Racial Harassment
- An individual teacher’s actions towards a parent or pupil
- The behaviour of a pupil or pupils towards another pupil
These should first be discussed with the relevant teacher or Head. If not satisfied at this stage, contact the Chair of Governors in order to avoid any accusation or prejudice.
The Chair of Governors will ensure that:-
- No individual governor deals with the complaint-
- The complaint is swiftly referred to the relevant committee or to the Head if complaints procedures have not been exhausted at that level.
- The complaint is not reported to the whole governing body until it is resolved, and then not in detail.
- All parties to the complaint are given a fair hearing.
- The decision is given in writing to the complainant.
Response to a formal letter will be sent within 14 working days. Any further appeal must then be registered within 14 working days. Finally, within the school, an Appeals Panel of the Governing Body will be formed, comprising a minimum of 3 members, who must not have been involved in investigating the complaint to date. They will meet within 14 days of any appeal to consider the complaint and provide a written, outcome within 7 days of that meeting.
Membership of this panel should have been established at the first meeting of the Autumn term with reserves in case any Governor needs to withdraw because of having prior knowledge of the incident or having a conflict of interest or unavailability. The Governing Body may wish to give delegated powers to vary the complaints panel membership where specialist knowledge by another governor would be useful.
If the panel membership has not been agreed, a Governing Body meeting will be called at which the membership of the panel is agreed. Since this is a matter of delegating powers, it requires a two-thirds quorum to set up the panel. The complaint must not be discussed at the meeting.
The Governing Body must delegate powers to reach findings on whether the parent’s complaint is justified. Only the members of the panel will have all the evidence to reach their conclusions.
Rights of Appeal
re:- Exclusion, Admission and Assessment of Special Educational Needs.
For an EXCLUSION the first appeal would be to the Governing Body. If not satisfied at that stage, one can appeal to an Independent Appeal Committee. (see exclusion policy)
If you cannot get a PLACE for your child at the school you can appeal to an Independent Committee.
In both the above appeals the INDEPENDENT COMMITTEE is organised by the
Lincolnshire Education Authority (telephone number available in School).
For ASSESSMENT OF SEN, there is an SEN tribunal which deals with such appeals. Details of the tribunal workings are available from the DFES. These complaints are separate from those in the section above which deal with the way SEN are met.
Three specific areas cannot be met by the Tribunal:-
- The way Lincolnshire LEA carried out an assessment of SEN or how long it took.
- The way Lincolnshire LEA is arranging to provide help set out in a child’s statement of SEN
- The description of the statement of a child’s non-educational needs or how Lincolnshire LEA is planning to meet those needs.
A parent can complain further to the LEA by writing to the Chief Complaints Officer CAAS. This Officer will acknowledge the letter and will notify the Chair and Headteacher.
When the complaint has been fully investigated and considered the Chief Complaints Officer will notify parents of the outcome in writing giving reasons for it, any action to be taken and farther recourse available. A copy of this will be sent to the Chair of governors and Headteacher and to anyone else involved in the investigation.
Arrangements for monitoring and evaluation
All complaints that have required serious investigation and the action taken will be documented and a summary included in the headteacher’s termly report to the governors, with advice on any implications for policies.
- Education Act 2002 (Section 29)
- DfES ‘School Complaints Procedure Toolkit’, available via www.governornet.co.uk
- ‘Complaints by Parents – Procedure’ (see attached appendix)
- NAHT advice
- Advice from LA
- ‘Dealing With and Reporting Racist Incidents – Guidance for School in Lincolnshire’
Last reviewed: November 2016