Complaints Policy & Procedure

 Introduction

Quainton Hall 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 with care and in accordance with this procedure. Quainton Hall School makes its complaints procedure available to all parents of pupils and of prospective pupils on the school's website and in the school office during the school day, and Quainton Hall School will ensure that parents of pupils and of prospective pupils who request it are made aware that this document is published or available and the form in which it is published or available.

In accordance with paragraph 24(3)(g) of Schedule 1 to the Education (Independent School Standards) (England) Regulations 2010, Quainton Hall School will make available to parents of pupils and of prospective pupils and provide, on request, to the Secretary of State or the Independent Schools Inspectorate for the purposes of section 162A(1) of the Education Act 2002 (as subsequently amended), details of the complaints procedure and the number of complaints registered under the formal procedure during the preceding school year.

What Constitutes a Complaint?
A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction with a real or perceived problem. It may be made about the school as a whole, about a specific department or about an individual member of staff. A complaint is likely to arise if a parent believes that the school has done something wrong, or failed to do so something that it should have done or acted unfairly.

Parents can be assured that all concerns and complaints will be treated seriously and confidentially. The school is here for your child and you can be assured that your child will not be penalised for a complaint that you or your child raises in good faith.

Timeframe for Dealing with Complaints
All complaints will be handled seriously and sensitively. They will be acknowledged within five working days if received during term time and as soon as practicable during holiday periods. It is in everyone's interest to resolve a complaint as speedily as possible: the school's target is to complete the first two stages of the procedure within 28 days if the complaint is lodged during term-time and as soon as practicable during holiday periods.
Stage 3, the Appeal Panel Hearing, will be completed within a further 28 days, if the appeal is lodged during term-time and as soon as practicable during holiday periods.

Recording Complaints
Following resolution of a complaint, the school will keep a written record of all complaints and whether they are resolved at the preliminary stage or proceed to a panel hearing. At the school's discretion, additional records may be kept which may contain the following information:

  • Date when the issue was raised
  • Name of parent
  • Name of pupil
  • Description of the issue
  • Records of all the investigations (if appropriate)
  • Witness statements (if appropriate)
  • Name of member (s) of staff handling the issue at each stage
  • Copies of all correspondence on the issue (including emails and records of phone conversations)

Correspondence, statements and records relating to individual complaints will be kept confidential except to the extent required by paragraph (k) of Schedule 1 to the Education (Independent Schools Standards) (England) Regulations 2010, by the Secretary of State or where disclosure is required by the ISI under Section 162A of the Education Act 2002 (as amended), or under other legal authority. 

Complaints

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 their child’s Form teacher. In many cases, the matter will be resolved straightaway by this means to the parents' satisfaction. If the Form teacher cannot resolve the matter alone it may be necessary for them to consult the Headmaster.
  • Complaints made directly to the Deputy Headmaster or Headmaster will usually be referred to the relevant Form teacher unless the Deputy Headmaster or Headmaster deems it appropriate to deal with the matter personally.
  • The Form teacher will make a written record of all concerns and complaints and the date on which they were received.  Should the matter not be resolved within seven days or in the event that the Form teacher 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.
  • If, however, the complaint is against the Headmaster, parents should make their complaint directly to the Chair of Governors. 

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 meet the parents concerned, normally within seven 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 and parents will be informed within fourteen days of this decision in writing. The Headmaster will also give reasons for his decision.
  • If the complaint is against the Headmaster, the Chair of Governors will call for a full report from the Headmaster and for all the relevant documents. The Chair may also call for a briefing from members of staff, and will in most cases, speak to or meet with the parents to discuss the matter further. Once the Chair is satisfied that, so far as is practicable, all of the relevant facts have been established, the parents will be informed of the decision in writing.  The Chair will give reasons for her decision.
  • If parents are still not satisfied with the decision, they should proceed to Stage 3 of this procedure.

Stage 3 - Panel Hearing

  • If parents seek to invoke Stage 3 (following a failure to reach an earlier resolution) they will be referred to the Chair of Governors, Reverand Vanessa Baron, who will call a hearing of the Complaints Panel.        
  • Written communications to the Chair of Governors, need to be marked Private & Confidential and addressed to Reverand Vanessa Baron, c/o Quainton Hall School. Any such communications will be forwarded to her unopened at the earliest possible opportunity.
  • The Complaints Panel will consist of three persons not directly involved in the matters detailed in the complaint and one of whom shall be independent of the management and running of the school. Mrs Baron, on behalf of the Panel, will then acknowledge the complaint and schedule a hearing to take place as soon as practicable and normally within fourteen 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 normally not later than seven days prior to the hearing.
  • The parents may attend the hearing and be accompanied to the hearing by one other person if they wish. This may be a relative, teacher or friend. Legal representation will not normally be appropriate.
  • If possible, the Panel will resolve the parents' complaint 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 make findings and may make recommendations.
  • The Panel will write to the parents informing them of its decision and the reasons for it, normally within seven days of the hearing. The decision of the Panel will be final. A copy of the Panel's findings and recommendations (if any) will be sent by electronic mail or otherwise given to the parents, and, where relevant, the person complained about as well as the Headmaster.

Notes

WRITTEN COMPLAINTS RELATING TO THE REQUIREMENTS UNDER THE STATUTORY FRAMEWORK FOR THE EARLY YEARS FOUNDATION STAGE (EYFS): Quainton Hall School will provide Ofsted, on request, with a written record of all complaints made during any specified period, and the action which was taken as a result of each complaint.  The record of any such complaints will be kept for at least three years.

COMPLAINTS TO OFSTED REGARDING EYFS SERVICE PROVIDERS: Parents may also complain directly to Ofsted if they wish.  Ofsted may be contacted on 0300 123 4234 or by email: enquiries@ofsted.gov.uk

COMPLAINTS TO INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS INSPECTORATE (ISI): Parents may also complain to ISI if they wish.  ISI may be contacted on 020 7600 0100 or by email: concerns@isi.net

Reviewed: September 2016
Next Review: September 2018