Sturminster Marshall First School

Grow, Achieve, Inspire, Nurture. SMFS where learning is an adventure.

Complaints Procedure

Adopted: 12/11/2019     

Staff Lead: Mr A Joyce     Governor Committee: Finance & Resources Committee (FAR)

Any problem or concern should be raised promptly with the class teacher/form tutor or member of staff responsible for the area or action you are concerned about. If your concern is more serious you may prefer to make an appointment to discuss it with the headteacher/head of year. All staff will make every effort to resolve your problem promptly at this informal stage. Most concerns and potential complaints can best be resolved through informal discussion with the headteacher or relevant member of staff.

Stage 1 (Headteacher)

If you are dissatisfied with the response of the member of staff (or the headteacher if they have been involved at the informal stage) then you may wish to put your concerns in writing to the headteacher as a complaint. You should make it clear if you wish the matter to be dealt with as a complaint. The headteacher will investigate the complaint and provide a written response. This will normally be within ten school days of your letter, but you will be kept informed if, for example, more time is needed to complete the investigation.

If your original concern was about an action by the headteacher personally, and you have already discussed it at the informal stage, then you should put your complaint in writing to the Chair of Governors (stage 2).

Stage 2 (Chair of Governors)

If you are not satisfied with the headteacher's response, you may contact the Chair of Governors via the school.

The Chair will investigate your complaint and, in most cases, seek to resolve the matter through discussion with yourself and the headteacher. At the end of this stage the Chair will provide you with a written response. This will normally be within ten school days, but you will be kept informed if more time is needed.

If you are not satisfied with the Chair's response at the end of stage 2, the complaint can be referred to the governing body by writing to the Chairman or Clerk to the governing body. The governing body will ask a small panel of governors to investigate your complaint. This will normally be arranged within fifteen school days of your complaint being received, depending on the availability of all concerned. You may be invited to speak to the panel at a meeting and be accompanied by a friend or representative. After the meeting, you will be advised of the outcome in writing. This will normally be within ten school days of the meeting.

For most complaints, the decision of the governors is the last step in the procedure. The curriculum

There is a specific procedure for complaints about the school curriculum and matters relating to it, including the provision of information and charges. In general, these are dealt with in a similar way to other complaints. However, there are some specific differences:

  • You may complain either to the LEA/Children's Services Authority or the governing body in the first instance.
  • The complaint will be investigated by whichever of these is responsible for the matter complained about.
  • The Governing body will inform both the complainant and the LEA/CSA of the outcome of its investigation.
  • There is a right of appeal to the LEA/CSA, and then to the Secretary of State.

The LEA/Children's Services Authority

In general, internal school matters are the responsibility of the school governing body. However, you may have a complaint which relates to something which is the Local Authority's responsibility. The LEA/CSA provide advice to parents and schools on best practice procedures for dealing with complaints. The LEA/CSA will, where appropriate, check to make sure that the complaint has been reasonably dealt with. Where required, LEA/CSA officers may play a role in helping schools to investigate and resolve particular complaints.

School admissions and exclusions

Separate complaint and appeal procedures exist for these matters, and appropriate information is available from the school.

Special needs

There is a separate appeal procedure for these matters, and appropriate information is available from the school.

Information about our Disability Equality Scheme and Accessibility Plan may be found on the website, or a copy may be obtained through the school office.

Complaints against school staff

If your complaint amounts to or includes an allegation against a member of staff, this may need to be considered under the school's disciplinary procedure for employees, rather than the complaint procedure. You will be advised if these procedures are to be used in dealing with your complaint.

This policy should be read in conjunction with the school’s safeguarding policy and child protection procedures.

Contact details

School office 01258 857348

Chair of Governors: Mr D Watt

Clerk to the Governors Mrs J Ramsey