Eventually, you will meet with the sub committee of the Governing Body. After representations from yourself and other parties, the panel will then meet on their own to discuss the complaint. The Chair of the sub committee will then write to you explaining the panel’s conclusions. This process will take a number of weeks. Stage 3: If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the meeting with the Complaints Sub Committee, you can then contact the Local Education Authority by writing to the following address: LEA Customer Relations Officer Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council Sandwell Council House P.O. Box 2374 Oldbury B69 3DE Telephone Number: 0121 569 8346 Stage 4 Finally, if you are not satisfied with any of the above, you can appeal to the Secretary of State for Education. This is a fairly drastic step. Such appeals are very rare. The LA Customer Relations Officer will be able to advise you on this stage.
GETTING IT RIGHT A Parents’ guide to making complaints and compliments
If English is not your first language and you would like help with translation, etc. or have a disability, you should contact the school in the first instance. We will endeavour to help you with your complaint i.e. by providing someone who speaks your language. Finally ◊ Do ensure your child attends regularly whilst your complaint is being investigated. ◊ You are welcome to contact or visit the LA at Shaftesbury House. However, they will simply refer you back to the Headteacher in the first instance. ◊ Engaging a lawyer or solicitor will always cost you money. Governors take complaints very seriously and are committed to ensuring that procedures are kept to and justice is done. A parent will be much better served by going through the Governing Body rather than engaging lawyers or solicitors. Page 4
GETTING IT RIGHT Staff, pupils and Governors strive to maintain a happy, harmonious school. We also welcome any positive feedback, so feel free to contact us at any time where you are pleased with our work. IF THINGS GO WRONG Most parents are happy with the education their son or daughter receives at the Alex - after all, we are oversubscribed. Situations do arise when parents need to contact the school or make a complaint. However, the school is a large, complex organisation with over a hundred staff. Mistakes do occur. If parents are unhappy about something, it is much better to contact the school sooner rather than later. We particularly hope you will contact us if you don’t feel your child is being stretched in lessons or set enough homework. Obviously, we take many other issues very seriously. We are a multi-faith, multi-cultural school committed to promoting race equality. We want to hear immediately if you son or daughter faces or experiences any form of racism. Informal Approaches As you know, many issues are best dealt with by contacting your son’s or daughter’s Head of Year. You are welcome to telephone members of the Senior Leadership Team as well. Their names are included below. It is best to telephone the school. Sometimes the switchboard is busy. There is always a Senior member of staff acting as Duty Tutor. You are welcome to come into school to see him/her but please understand that he or she might be involved in something else and there might be a queue of parents. Very busy times are at the start and end of the school day. You are welcome to contact the Headteacher. Please be aware he cannot deal with all complaints personally. He is often teaching, attending meetings or out of school. It may be difficult for him to return calls on the day they were received. Complaints about members of staff should always be made informally to the Headteacher. If you have discussed an issue with another member of staff and are dissatisfied with the outcome, you should contact the Headteacher.
Mediation As you will have read, making a formal complaint can be a lengthy and complex process. It can be much easier to involve a third party to informally hear your complaint. Although, you may be complaining about the work of the school, the following staff are willing to act as mediators: Mr D Russell Mrs D Townsend Ms J Goddard Mr C Buckle Mrs H Brown
Deputy Headteacher Deputy Headteacher Deputy Headteacher Operations Manager Extended School Manager
These staff will listen to your verbal complaint and then discuss the matter with the Headteacher. He/she will then suggest a solution. This is not binding on either party but hopefully will be acceptable. Don’t be put off by the fact that they are school staff. They are committed to finding a solution that avoids going through a lengthy process. Making A Formal Complaint The school has signed up to the LA Compliments and Complaints Policy which outlines the procedures to be followed if you are dissatisfied with the response of the Headteacher:Stage 1: You should make a formal complaint to the Headteacher. If possible, this should be made in writing. Try to be clear about the nature of the complaint. The Headteacher will investigate the matter and respond (in writing) within ten (10) working days if possible. Sometimes investigations take longer. You will be informed of this if this is the case. If the complaint is about the Headteacher, you should write to the Chair of Governors - Stewart Towe, CBE - c/o the school. Again, he will try to reply to you (in writing) with his conclusions within ten (10) working days. Stage 2: If you are dissatisfied with the response of either the Headteacher or the Chair of Governors, you can make a formal complaint to the a specially formed Complaints Sub Committee. This is a lengthy and complex procedure and will mean meeting with a panel of Governors and putting your case forward. The Headteacher will be present. Your son or daughter may need to attend. You should write to the Clerk to the Governors c/o the school. He/she will then write to you within five (5) working days and send you a copy of the procedure.