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School Resolution (Informal Stage 1)

If you are concerned or unhappy with the way the school or a member of its staff has treated you, or you are concerned or unhappy with the way the school is operating its policies and procedures, then you can raise your concerns or make a complaint.

Usually the best way to deal with a concern or complaint is for the member of staff, headteacher or school governor to talk with you so that they can understand what your concern or complaint is about, and take any appropriate action to put things right. The school will determine who is most appropriate to carry this out depending on the nature of the concern.

The person dealing with your concern may also want to take the opportunity to explain what has happened from the perspective of the school or staff member involved. Low level concerns or complaints can be dealt with quickly and effectively by the headteacher or a governor using this approach, which is known as a ‘School Resolution’.

This way of dealing with your concern or complaint means solving, explaining, clearing up or settling your concern or complaint directly with you. It will not result in conduct or capability action being taken against an individual member of staff, and the complaint will be closed after the process is completed.

Resolving your complaint in this manner can help to improve the service

your community receives from the school.

How does the School Resolution process work?

Once you have raised your concern or complaint, the person who is looking into it will contact you within 5 working days (in term time). They can arrange to talk to you face-to-face, on the telephone, or they can contact you by letter if you prefer.

For your part, you will need to:

This School Resolution process is not about apportioning blame or about staff being dealt with through formal conduct or capability procedures – schools are centres of learning for everyone, and it is about learning from what has happened and working with you to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

For its part, the school will:


www.devonias.org.uk 01392 383080,

devonias@devon.gov.uk

What can I expect from the School Resolution?

Most concerns or complaints are not likely to involve extensive or lengthy enquiries, and therefore you should expect an approach that is proportionate to the issue you have raised.

As the School Resolution process is aimed at quickly resolving your concern or complaint and learning from it, it won’t lead to conduct or capability proceedings against a member of staff. However, where appropriate, the member of staff might receive further support or training as a result.

If your concern or complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction with something the school has either done or not done, and not about somebody - for example, about the way the school operates its policies or is directed to fulfil its statutory obligations -  then it will still be resolved using this ‘School Resolution’ approach.


What happens next?

There are different ways of dealing with the concern or complaint using

The School Resolution Process. These include:

or by telephone, as you choose

When the named person has looked into your concerns you will receive further communication from the school within 10 working days of the original concern being raised. However, if the concern is complex, the person working on the School Resolution may contact you to let you know that more time is needed to look more fully into the matter.

What might happen as a result?

The school could take the following actions to resolve your concern or complaint:

School Investigation – The Formal Complaints Procedure (Stage 2 and 3)

If the complaint is about the Executive Headteacher or one of the governors, then any letter of complaint should be addressed to the Chair of Governors c/o the school. If the complaint is about the chair of governors, then this should be addressed to the Vice Chair of Governors.

 

 

Stage 2 will be carried out by the Executive Headteacher/Head of School and Stage 3 by a governor.  However if the complaint refers to the headteacher the investigation will go straight to stage 3 for investigation by the chair of governors (or delegated to another impartial governor).


 

If following the school resolution stage, you, or the person dealing with your concern considers that your concern needs a more detailed investigation, or where the School Resolution has not delivered a satisfactory conclusion, a School Investigation will follow.

Although this is a formal investigation into your complaint, it will still be in the spirit of quickly reaching an effective outcome and maintaining positive and productive relationships. All parties need to work together to maintain productive relationships, and establish a way forward in partnership. This investigation may call for more information to be gathered before the person investigating can explain what has happened from the perspective of the school or the staff member involved. This way of dealing with your concern or complaint means solving, explaining, clearing up or settling your complaint directly with you, but doing so with a more detailed investigation than at a School Resolution level.  

How does the School Investigation process work?

Once you have raised your concern or made your complaint, the Executive Headteacher/Head of School or governor who is looking into it will contact you within 5 working days (term time). They can arrange to talk to you face-to-face, on the telephone or they can contact you by letter if you prefer.

For your part, you will need to:

For its part, the school will:

What can I expect from a School Investigation?

Some concerns or complaints may demand more detailed and perhaps time consuming enquiries, and therefore you should expect an approach that is proportionate to the complaint you have made. The person investigating your concern should keep in regular contact to keep you informed of progress on the matter.

Nevertheless, the School Investigation process aims to quickly resolve your concern or complaint and identify any learning from it.

What happens next?

Your concern or complaint will be the subject of a proportionate investigation. This means that the amount of time dedicated to the matter will be in accordance with the seriousness of the matter.

 

At the conclusion, one of a number of things may follow. These include:

or by telephone – as you choose

The School Investigation should be completed within 10 working days when you will receive a letter explaining the findings and any actions that may need to happen as a result. However, in complex matters it may take longer. The person investigating will keep in regular contact with you to keep you informed of progress.

What might happen as a result?

The school could take the following actions to resolve your concern or complaint and will provide feedback to you on such actions:


Appeal against the decision made following The School Investigation (Stage 4) 

 

The School Investigation stage of this complaints procedure includes an appeal process should you not be satisfied with the outcome of the investigation. Following our initial investigation we will write to you to let you know of your right to appeal and you will have 20 working days to let us know if you would like to do so. (This does not include school holidays where there may be no one in school to respond to your request).

If you decide you would like to appeal, we will invite you to attend an appeal meeting and if the date is inconvenient we will provide an alternative date. You will also receive any paperwork that relates to the initial school investigation 7 days in advance of the appeal meeting.

At the meeting, a panel of three governors who have had no previous dealings with your complaint, will listen to your appeal, they will also listen to what the Executive Headteacher/Head of School has to say, and then they will come to a decision whether to uphold the complaint fully or in part, or whether the school has acted appropriately and that no further actions are necessary. The panel will not be able to hear any other complaints or additional concerns at this meeting.

Whilst this is part of the formal complaints procedure, we aim to make the meeting as informal as possible so that all parties can put forward their views in a positive and respectful manner.

When the appeal panel has considered all the information made available to them, they will make a decision and inform you in writing of the outcome within 5 working days.

 

Sometimes when a complaint is very complex, and has taken a lot of time, it may be that the governing body may have difficulty assembling an appeal panel that fits the criteria of having had no prior knowledge of your complaint. In this case you may request that the school source an independent appeal panel to hear the final stage of your complaint.

 

Following the appeal panel meeting the complaints procedure is complete. If you are still unhappy with the way the school has managed your complaint, you can submit a complaint to the Department for Education online at www.gov.uk/complain-about-school 

Or write to:

School Complaints Unit

Department of Education

2nd Floor, Piccadilly Gate

Manchester M1 2WD

Please remember that the school is committed to resolving your concerns wherever possible and that where this is proving complex, mediation is a powerful method of resolving matters. (see page 2).

Practical advice for parents and carers who want to raise a concern about the school