Complaints Procedure

The Trust recognises that a vast majority of complaints and concerns can be resolved informally, at academy level, in the first instance. The complainant must feel able to raise concerns and complaints with members of staff, either in person, by telephone, or in writing. A preliminary discussion may be undertaken to help clarify if he or she is making a complaint or expressing an opinion, and whether he/she wishes to take it further. The complainant should be able to bring a supporting adult to any discussion. The member of staff dealing with the concern should make sure that the complainant understands what action (if any) or monitoring of the situation has been agreed. The process should be completed quickly and concluded in writing with appropriate detail. Where no satisfactory solution has been found, the complainant should be informed that he or she will need to consider whether to make a formal complaint in writing to the headteacher.  

Stage 1 – Initial Concern or Complaint

  • Parent/carer/guardian discusses their concern with the child’s class teacher or, if they prefer, another member of the academy’s teaching staff.

  • Where the complaint concerns the headteacher, the parent must contact the chair of the local governing body.

  • If the first approach is made to a governor, the next step would be to refer the complainant to the appropriate person and advise them on the complaints procedure (unless the complaint is about the headteacher).

  • Governors should not act alone on an individual complaint outside the formal procedure or be involved at the early stages, in case they are needed to sit on a panel at a later stage of the procedure.

  • If a resolution cannot be sought at this level, or the complainant is dissatisfied with the outcome of these initial discussions, then the parent/carer/guardian may wish to escalate the complaint to the next level of the procedure.


Stage 2 - Complaint Heard by Headteacher

  • The parent/carer/guardian must request an appointment to see the headteacher. This should be as soon as reasonably practical to avoid any possible worsening of the issue.

  • The headteacher may delegate the task of collating the information to another staff member but not the decision on the action to be taken.

  • If the complaint is against a member of staff, the headteacher should talk to the staff member against whom the complaint has been made. If necessary, the headteacher should interview witnesses and take statements from those involved.

  • The headteacher should keep reasonable written records of meetings, telephone conversations and other documentation.

  • The headteacher will investigate fully and communicate findings and/or resolutions to the complainant verbally or in writing depending on the nature of the issue.

  • Once all the relevant facts have been established, the headteacher should produce a written response to the complainant. The written response should include a full explanation of the decision and the reasons for it. Where appropriate, it should include what action the school will take to resolve the complaint.

  • Stage 2 should be completed within 15 school days. However, it is recognised that where the case is complex, it may prove difficult to meet this time constraint. In such cases, the headteacher should write to the complainant giving a revised target date.

  • If the parent/carer/guardian is not satisfied with the outcome at this stage, the complaint can progress to the next level for an independent review by the governing body panel.

  • If the concern or complaint is against the headteacher, in the first instance the complainant will need to write in confidence to the chair of the governing body at the school. The chair will seek to resolve the issue informally before, if necessary, moving to Stage 3 


Stage 3 – Complaint Heard by a Local Governing Bodies’
Complaints Appeal Panels (CAP)

  • Complaints at this stage must be made in writing and addressed to the chair of school governors no later than 10 school days following receipt of a Stage 2 outcome. The chair of governors, or a nominated governor, will convene a governing body CAP.

  • Written acknowledgement of the complaint will be made, within 3 school days, informing the complainant that their complaint will be heard within 20 school days.

  • A CAP will be arranged with 3 members of the governing body and the complainant. Five days’ notice will be given to all attending.  The chair of the CAP should write to the complainant to explain how the review will be conducted. The letter should be copied to the headteacher.

  • At the meeting everyone's case will be put across and discussed. The CAP should reconsider the issues raised in the original complaint and not confine themselves to consideration of procedural issues. The meeting should allow for:

    • The complainant to explain his or her complaint and the headteacher to explain the reasons for his/her decision.

    • The headteacher to question the complainant about the complaint and the complainant to question the headteacher.

    • The CAP to have an opportunity to question both the complainant and the headteacher.

    • Any party to have the right to bring witnesses (subject to the approval of the chair of CAP) and all parties to have the right to question all the witnesses.

    • A final statement by the headteacher and complainant.

  • A written response to the complainant will be made within 15 school days. The letter will explain if there are any further rights of appeal and, if so, to whom they need to be addressed.