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Sunningdale School

Complaints Procedure



The School has long prided itself on the quality of the teaching and pastoral care provided to its pupils. However, if parents do have a complaint, they can expect it to be treated by the School in accordance with this Procedure. The complaints procedure is available on demand or on the School’s website.

Stage 1 – Informal Resolution

• It is hoped that most complaints and concerns will be resolved quickly and informally.

• If parents have a complaint they should normally contact the Headmaster. In many cases, the matter will be resolved straight away by this means to the parents’ satisfaction.

• Complaints made directly to the Headmaster will usually be referred to the relevant teacher unless the Headmaster deems it appropriate for him to deal with the matter personally.

• The Headmaster will make a written record of all concerns and complaints and the date on which they were received. Should the matter not be resolved quickly (within a week) or in the event that the Headmaster and the parent fail to reach a satisfactory resolution then parents will be advised to proceed with their complaint in accordance with stage 2 of this Procedure.

Stage 2 – Formal Resolution

• If the complaint cannot be resolved on an informal basis, then the parents should put their complaint in writing to the Headmaster. The Headmaster will decide, after considering the complaint, the appropriate course of action to take.

• In most cases, the Headmaster will speak to the parents concerned, normally within 7 days of receiving the complaint, to discuss the matter. If possible, a resolution will be reached at this stage.

• It may be necessary for the Headmaster to carry out further investigations.

• The Headmaster will keep written records of all meetings and interviews held in relation to the complaint.

• Once the Headmaster is satisfied that, so far as is practicable, all of the relevant facts have been established, a decision will be made, within two weeks of receiving the complaint, and parents will be informed of this decision in writing. The Headmaster will also give reasons for his/her decision.

• If parents are still not satisfied with the decision, or if no resolution is found before two weeks from the initial complaint, they should proceed to Stage 3 of this Procedure.

• A written record will be kept of all complaints received and state:

  1. whether they are resolved following a formal procedure or proceed to a panel hearing
  2. action taken by the school as a result of these complaints (regardless of whether they are upheld)

• Correspondence, statements and records relating to individual complaints are to be kept confidential except where the Secretary of State or a body conducting an inspection requests access to them.

Stage 3 – Panel Hearing

• If parents seek to invoke Stage 3 (following a failure to reach an earlier resolution).

• The parents should contact the Proprietors who will then convene Complaints Panel.

• The matter will then be referred to the Complaints Panel for consideration. The Panel will consist of at least three persons not directly involved in the matters detailed in the complaint, one of whom shall be independent of the management and running of the school. Each of the Panel members shall be appointed by the proprietor. The Headmaster on behalf of the Panel, will then acknowledge the complaint and schedule a hearing to take place as soon as practicable and normally within 14 days.

• If the Panel deems it necessary, it may require that further particulars of the complaint or any related matter be supplied in advance of the hearing. Copies of such particulars shall be supplied to all parties not later than 3 days prior to the hearing.

• The parents may be accompanied to the hearing by one other person. This may be a relative, teacher or friend. Legal representation will not normally be appropriate.

• If possible, the Panel will resolve the parents’ complaint immediately without the need for further investigation.

• Where further investigation is required, the Panel will decide how it should be carried out. After due consideration of all facts they consider relevant, the Panel will reach a decision and may make recommendations, which it shall complete within 14 days of the Hearing. The Panel will write to the parents informing them of its decision and the reasons for it. The decision of the Panel will be final. The Panel’s findings and, if any, recommendations will be sent in writing to the parents, the Headmaster, and, where relevant, the person complained of and be available for inspection on the school’s premises by the proprietor and the Headmaster.

A written record will be kept of all complaints that are made according to this policy and will have details about whether they are resolved following a formal procedure or proceed to a panel hearing and action taken by the school as a result of these complaints, regardless of whether they are upheld.

Parents can be assured that all concerns and complaints will be treated seriously and confidentially. Correspondence, statements and records will be kept confidential except in so far as is required under section 109 of the Education and Skills Act 2008; where disclosure is required in the course of the school’s inspection; or where any other legal obligation prevails.

Useful Contacts


T.M.E. Dawson                                T.A.C.N Dawson

Walters Cottage,                         Sunningdale School,

Sunningdale,                                Sunningdale,

Berkshire                                Berkshire

SL5 9PY                                SL5 9PY

01344 620815                                01344 620159

If parents wish to know the number of formal complaints made in the last 12  months they should contact the Headmaster.


What should a child do if he/she just wants to talk to someone?

Children need to remember that they have close friends who may be able to help or there may be an older boy to whom they might be able to turn. Their Form Tutor, a matron or any other member of staff is always ready to help or listen to them. There may be times when they feel they cannot talk to a member of staff and, if that is the case, they may talk or write to any of the following:

Their parents
The School doctor

If a child should wish to make a complaint about something 
Sometimes a child may feel that he would like to complain about something that is worrying them. This might be about how they are being treated, worries concerning their work, or friendships with children in their form or dormitory. The first thing they should do is talk to any member of staff they trust. If this matter cannot easily be settled then they may make a formal complaint, and to do this they need to:

Write to the Form Tutor, the Matron or the Headmaster telling that person that they wish to make a formal complaint.

  1. That person will then write the complaint in the complaints book held by the Headmaster.
  2. The child will receive a note from the Headmaster within two days of the complaint having been made, confirming that he has seen the complaint and that it is being attended to.
  3. The child will then be asked to talk the matter through with the Headmaster or the Deputy Headmaster and may have with them a friend who may be another pupil, or the Tutor/Matron or any other member of staff. If within two days, the matter has not been resolved satisfactorily, the child may contact their parents, the school doctor or an independent listener or Ofsted (08456 404040). The address and telephone number of the last two appear in this document. The child does not need to inform staff or anyone else that they are making a complaint about them.
  4. The person whom the child contacts should speak to them at the school. Again, the child can have a friend with him who will advise the child what course seems sensible. At that time it will be up to the child to make the decision, acting on the advice he or she has been given.

Instances that might make a child unhappy or upset could be:

1. He may feel he has been treated unfairly or verbally abused by a member of
staff in school or class.
2. The child feels a punishment is unjust or in some way not right.
3. A monitor has treated a child unkindly.
4. A child is being bullied.
5. A child is finding it difficult to make friends.
6. The child thinks he is being discriminated against because of his sex.
7. He feels that no one understands the difficulties he is having with some of his work.
8. Someone has hurt or abused him or has made suggestions that he feels are not right.
9. He feels the food at school is not as good as it should be.
10. Someone is making fun of him.
11. He feels that there is not enough respect for his privacy.
12. Someone has taken something of his and not returned it.
13. He feels he is being badly taught and is not getting a fair deal.


The School Doctor: 01344 623181

Childline: 0800 1111

Ofsted: 08456 404040

Ms Salome Laschinger  07855 795899


At Sunningdale we want everyone to be happy and feel safe all the time.

If you are worried about anything you must tell an adult.

You can tell anyone you like, including:


Updated TACND 12/11/18

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