We have a complaints procedure in place at Westward for parents of registered pupils which is available on request to all parents of pupils and prospective parents. A copy of the policy can be downloaded from the school website.
The procedure applies to the Main School, EYFS and the Westward Out of School Care facilities.
The complaints procedure at Westward School has three stages, to be covered in a period of 28 days excluding school holidays and weekends between the complaint being made and the final resolution.
The DfE does not distinguish between a 'concern' and a 'complaint'. Any matter about which a parent of a pupil is unhappy and seeks action by the school is considered a complaint and will be addressed in accordance with this policy. In this respect it is anticipated that the large majority of complaints will be resolved at the informal stage.
Stage 1 - Informal Complaint (Resolution within 5 working days)
A parent or carer with a complaint should normally in the first instance contact their child’s class teacher, although there may be occasions where the first contact may be with an alternative, normally more senior teacher. Other staff may need to be involved or consulted if this teacher cannot resolve the matter alone.
All complaints may be made on an informal basis initially; verbally or in writing via the Home Message Book/Homework Diary or via email or letter.
Parents and carers should wherever possible seek an early and informal resolution of all complaints. The school will wish to take whatever measures are necessary to sort out any problems as quickly and effectively as possible. Such measures may include some of the following; giving advice or reassurance; explaining the context to an incident or decision; gathering information from other staff or from pupils; finding information from other sources; referring the complaint to a senior colleague; reviewing or amending practice; giving feedback to parents.
In many instances issues will be dealt with straight away but where further information is required every effort will be made to make an initial response within 24 hours of the issue being raised.
Stage 1 Records
The school will keep records of complaints which are resolved at the informal stage for management purposes, for example to enable patterns or trends to be monitored.
In the event that a parent or carer (or a pupil using this procedure exceptionally) remains dissatisfied that a satisfactory resolution has not been reached through the school’s response and within a reasonable time (five school days), then the parent is entitled to proceed with a formal written complaint in accordance with the procedure below.
Stage 2 - Formal Complaint (resolution within 10 working days)
If the complaint has not been resolved informally the parent or carer should put it in writing, stating that a complaint has been made, addressed to the Headteacher - Mrs Stevenson, who will decide after consideration the appropriate course of action to take. At this point a formal complaint will be registered and acknowledged. Where necessary the Headteacher will meet with the parent/carers, within ten days of receiving the complaint, to discuss the matter and if possible reach a resolution at this preliminary stage. Where a complaint is received during a school holiday, it will be deemed to have reached the school on the first full school day following its arrival. It may be necessary to carry out further investigations. The Headteacher will keep written records of all complaints, and of meetings held in relation to them. Once the Headteacher is satisfied that all relevant facts have been established, a response to the parent’s or carer’s complaint will be made and the parent will be informed in writing, within ten school days: The nature of the response will depend on the nature of the complaint but it will always give a judgement whether and to what extent, if at all, the complaint is justified, and reasons; the response may include actions which the school intends to take or decisions.
A parent or carer who is not satisfied should proceed to the next stage.
Stage 3 - Independent Resolution - Panel Hearing (Resolution within 13 working days)
If the parents are not satisfied with the response to a written complaint then the proprietor will be informed and further investigations will take place.
A hearing will be carried out before a panel within 13 school days appointed by the proprietor of at least three people who have not been directly involved in the matters detailed in the complaint. Where there is a panel hearing of a complaint one person on the panel will be independent of the management and running of the school and the rest of the panel will comprise of senior teachers. A member of office staff unless they are the object of the complaint will be present to act as clerk to the panel. Parents are allowed to attend panel hearings and can be accompanied if they wish.
If possible the panel will resolve the parent’s or carer’s complaint without further investigation. Where further investigation is needed, the panel will decide how to carry out the investigation. After due consideration of all relevant facts, the panel will give written findings in response to the complaint: the findings will depend on the nature of the complaint but the panel will always give a judgement whether and to what extent, if at all, the complaint is justified, and the panel’s reasons; the findings may include recommendations or actions which the panel requires the school to take. The findings of the panel will be final.
A record of the panel’s findings and recommendations will be sent by electronic mail or otherwise given in writing to the complainant, proprietor, Headteacher and where relevant the person complained about.
Stage 2 & 3 Records
A written record is kept of complaints made to the school which reach the formal stage.
Details will be recorded of;
- Whether the complaint was resolved following the formal stage or proceeded to a panel hearing;
- Action taken by the school as a result of the complaint, (regardless of whether the complaint was upheld).
Correspondence, statements and records relating to all complaints are kept confidential except where the Secretary of State or a body conducting an inspection under section 109 of the 2008 Act, as amended, requests due access to them.
These findings will be available for inspection on the school premises by the proprietor and the Headteacher
Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
A record of complaints is kept for at least three years for any pupil in the Foundation stage. Parents of pupils in the EYFS may also contact OFSTED (The Office For Standards In Education, Children’s Services and Skills) or ISI (The Independent Schools’ Inspectorate) to make a complaint if they wish.
Contact details for ISI and Ofsted
Independent Schools Inspectorate may be contacted in writing or emailing or ringing:
Independent Schools Inspectorate
9 – 12 Long Lane
Telephone: 0207 600 0100
- Concerns about a school
- Concerns for the safety or welfare of a child
- Queries relating to safeguarding
Telephone: 0207 600 0100
"The first step is always to raise any issues with the school by completing their full complaints procedure. Most issues can be resolved this way.
We may not be able to accept your complaint if you have not done this already."
Telephone: 0300 123 4666
Number of complaints during the academic year 2019/20
The number of complaints is available on request from the school office.
Last Reviewed: August 2020