Making a complaint about an incident that has occurred in school
All schools in the Doncaster area want their children to do well and be happy. We recognise that you as a parent or carer play an important part in making this happen. Therefore, your child's school will aim to provide as many opportunities to keep you informed and involved in your child's progress as they can. This means that questions and concerns are usually dealt with quickly and helpfully.
However, we recognise that there are times when things go wrong, when concerns and differences of opinion can develop. These can usually be resolved by speaking to the right person. Most concerns can be settled without too much trouble, but whatever the issue, even where you are seriously concerned about your child's future at the school, it is always important to try to find an answer. Disruption to a child's education would be the most damaging result of all.
What should I do if I have a concern/complaint about my child's school?
The first step to resolving any concern or complaint is to discuss the issue with the school.
It is important to be clear about the issue that you want to discuss and you may find that it helps to think this through before approaching the school.
It is also important to remember that, although you may want a decision or situation to change, it is best for all parties if the discussions can end on a positive note with no bad feelings. Following this 'complaints process' can help ensure that this happens and a two way conversation with the school can help you to understand how they see the situation and give you the chance to say what it looks like to you.
When you need to talk to your child's school about a concern, it is best to make an appointment to ensure that you have enough time and the right setting to talk things through. Whilst some schools can see parents who just "pop in", this is not generally possible and could mean that there is insufficient time or privacy to address the issue.
Who should I contact to discuss my concern/complaint in the first instance?
It is best to raise any concerns early on, before they grow in to a problem or complaint. Always start by arranging to discuss an issue with the class teacher, special needs co-ordinator or, in a secondary school, perhaps the Head of Year. They can look into your concerns and take any action that may be necessary to put things right and make improvements.
I have spoken to my child's teacher about a concern/complaint but am still unhappy, what should I do now?
Ask for an appointment with the Headteacher/Principal (or Head of Year/Deputy Headteacher/Head of Department in a secondary school).
It may help to give the school some days/times when you are available to help them find the soonest possible appointment for both parties.
Before attending the meeting, it would be useful to put down your concerns in writing as both you and the school can spend the meeting time looking for a solution to the problem.
What should I expect to happen as a result of meeting with the Headteacher/Principal?
A meeting between a Headteacher/Principal and a parent might result in both parties agreeing on two or three specific things/actions which need to happen in order for the problem to be resolved. A timescale for these things to happen will usually also be agreed.
If after meeting with the Headteacher/Principal, I still feel that my concern/complaint has not been resolved, what should I do?
If, having met with the Headteacher/Principal, you are still unhappy, you may, if you wish, ask the Governing Body of the school to consider your concern/complaint. This is a formal process.
To go through this process, you will need to write to the Chair of Governors, stating that you wish to make a formal complaint. Remember to make it clear what it is that you are complaining about and what you would like the Governors to do. This should be sent via the school who will forward your letter to the Chair of Governors.
Each school is required to have its own complaints procedure and your complaint will be dealt with in line with this process. A copy of this procedure can be found on the school’s website or alternatively you can contact the school for a copy.
What to do if you are still unhappy
If after receiving a response from the Governing Body you are still unhappy or you feel that it has not investigated your complaint in line with its procedure you may wish to contact the Department for Education
within 10 school days of receipt of the panel’s letter.
Complaints about academies
Each academy is also required to have its own complaints procedure and complaints will be dealt with in line with this.
If you are unhappy about the way your complaint has been handled you may wish to contact the Department for Education