Legislation

Section 29 of the Education Act 2002 requires the governing bodies of all maintained schools in Wales to establish procedures for dealing with complaints from parents, pupils, members of staff, governors, members of the local community and others. The law also requires governing bodies to publish their complaints procedures. The provisions of section 29 came into force on 1st September 2003. On 21st May 2004 the Assembly issued guidance [Circular No: 03/2004] on the establishment and publication of procedures.

The Governing Body will have regard to Assembly guidance circular 03/2004 [published May 2004] in relation to all complaint procedures. All processes will follow the procedures set out in the document.

Concerns

A concern is not a complaint and should not be treated as such by the parent or the school. Only a very small number of concerns raised by parents need to be investigated using the formal procedure. Any concern should always be raised with the class teacher or Headteacher in the first instance where every effort will be made to resolve the difficulty. When concerns are addressed and resolved there should be no need for a formal complaint. An initial request for action, or an enquiry, is not a complaint, however, failure to respond could give rise to a complaint.

Complaints

This policy explains what parents can do if a query or concern, which has been raised with the Headteacher, has not been responded to in an appropriate manner. A number of other procedures already exist. There are special arrangements for dealing with the following matters, which must not be dealt with under the complaints’ procedure.

The existing special arrangements are for dealing with: -
• Complaints about what your child is taught at school (the National Curriculum), the school’s charging policy, religious education and collective worship, and the school’s provision of information.
The school prospectus gives details of the arrangements. In each case however, you should first discuss the problem with the Headteacher.
• Appeals against decisions about your child’s special educational needs.
A tribunal has been established to deal with complaints of this nature. The school or Local Education Authority will be able to give you details (contact Gwyn Roberts 01492 575012)
• If you are not offered a place in the school of your choice, or if your child is suspended or excluded from school.
The school will tell you how to appeal if these situations arise.

In all other cases you should follow the 4 stage procedure outlined below.

Stage 1 - THE CLASS TEACHER OR HEADTEACHER

If you are worried about something concerning your child at school, you should first ask to discuss the difficulty with the class teacher or Headteacher. You can do this by telephoning the school, writing a letter or making an appointment. If your initial concern is made to the Headteacher, it may be suggested to you that it would be more appropriate for you first, to talk with another senior member of staff or one of the other teachers, in which case you should do this.

Stage 2 – THE HEADTEACHER

If your concern has not been resolved during Stage 1, it is good practice to deliver it in writing so that the substance of the matter is clear. On receipt the Headteacher will acknowledge the concern in writing. The concern will be fully investigated and the result conveyed in writing to the concerned party. A response will be received within 10 working days.

Stage 3 - THE GOVERNORS

Most complaints will have been resolved by this stage but, if you are still unhappy, the next stop is a formal complaint to the Governing Body.
The Governing Body has established a Complaints Committee and an Appeals Committee to deal with complaints under Section 29(1) of the Education Act 2002. The committee will be selected from the Governing Body, as appropriate for each individual complaint. Normally about three governors will be involved.

Send a letter to the Chairman of the Governors at the school. Try to keep a copy of the letter; it may help you later. The governors will let you know who will investigate your complaint and how they will deal with it. A response will be received within 15 days of the complaint.
They will hold a meeting to discuss your complaint. The meeting will usually be held within 20 working days of the day the Chairman receives your form or letter.
You will be invited to go to the meeting so that you can talk about your complaint in more detail. You can take a friend or representative with you if you wish. You will be given at least 3 working day’s notice of the meeting. Every effort will be made to see that the date and time is convenient for you.
After the meeting, even if you have attended, the governors will write to you and tell you the result. They will tell you of any action taken or to be taken.

Procedures for recording and monitoring complaints

The governing body will record and monitor all complaints according to the processes described within the guidance. The records will be kept for three school years.

Procedures for implementing any actions arising from the resolution of complaints or from monitoring trends.

The Governing Body recognises that lessons can be learnt and procedures improved as a result of individual complaint cases and the monitoring of long-term trends. The Governing Body will receive twice-yearly reports summarising key trends and issues on complaints. Any actions taken as a result of the analysis of complaints will be identified in the annual report to parents.

This policy is available on the school website, and in translation, on request.