Complaints Policy

Date CreatedDate 1st Review DueDate ReviewedVersionNext Review Due
November 2022November 2023   
November 20232November 2024

Complaints Received at Formal Stage in 2022/2023 = 0

Complaints Procedure

Complaints Procedure

This policy applies to all students who are on role at the school. It does not apply to prospective students or those who have left the school unless the complaint was lodged during the time when the student was registered at the school. This complaints policy and procedure is available to parents on the school website or as a hard copy directly from the school.

The primary purpose of this policy is that it deals with complaints. A complaint is defined as any matter about which a parent expresses dissatisfaction with a real or perceived problem and seeks action by the school

Introduction

At Egham Park we hope that students and parents are always happy and that they know they can speak to members of staff at any time with concerns that they may have.

However, if parents do have a concern or complaint, they can expect that it will be dealt with sensitively, fairly and in a timely manner as detailed below.

The school’s aim is to resolve every concern or complaints informally, where possible.  If a matter cannot be resolved informally, the matter may proceed as a formal complaint.

Stage 1 – Informal Resolution

If parents have a complaint or concern, they should normally contact their child’s Class teacher initially. In many cases, the matter will be resolved straight away by this means to the parents’ satisfaction. If the Teacher cannot resolve the matter alone, it may be necessary for him/her to consult the Principal as appropriate.

Complaints made directly to the Principal will usually be referred to the relevant Class Teacher unless she deems it appropriate to deal with the matter personally.

The Class teacher will make a written record of all concerns and complaints and the date on which they were received. A copy of this will be submitted to the Principal on the day the complaint is received (for monitoring purposes). Should the matter not be resolved within 5 working days, or if the Class Teacher/Principal and the parent fail to reach a satisfactory resolution, then parents will be advised to proceed with their complaint or appeal in accordance with Stage 2 of this Procedure.

Stage 2 – Formal Resolution – Preliminary Stage:

If the complaint cannot be resolved on an informal basis, then the parents should put their complaint in writing to the Principal.  After considering the complaint the Principal will decide on the most appropriate course of action to be taken.

In most cases, the Principal will meet the parents/guardian concerned, normally within 10 working days of receipt of the complaint.  Best endeavours will be made to reach a resolution at this stage.  It may be necessary for further investigations to be carried out by the Principal.

The Principal will ensure that written records of all meetings and interviews held in relation to the complaint are kept.

Once the Principal is confident that, as far as is practicable all investigations have been carried out, and that the relevant facts have been established, a decision will be made, and parents will be informed of this decision in writing. The Principal will also give reasons for their decision.

Dependent upon the complexity of the complaint, the school will endeavour to complete Stage Two of the Complaints Procedure within a further 10 working days. If the matter is deemed more complex and requires more time, a formal resolution must be completed within 15 working days.  Should this be the case parents will be informed that more time is necessary.

If parents are still not satisfied with the outcome, they should proceed to Stage 3. In the event that the complaint relates to the exclusion of a child, the Principal may temporarily exclude the child pending the outcome of the complaints procedure.

Stage 3 – Panel Hearing

A written appeal must be lodged by the parent within 7 working days of the formal resolution (of Stage 2) being communicated to the parent. Any appeal can only be in relation to the formal resolution communicated (of Stage 2); It cannot be an amendment of the facts of the original complaint.

If a parent it not satisfied with the school’s response (following a failure to reach an earlier resolution) and indicates a wish to continue to Stage 3 of the Complaints Procedure, the panel hearing will go ahead unless the parent indicates that they are now satisfied with the outcome at Stage 2, and do not wish to proceed further.

If necessary, the Appeals Panel will consider the parent’s complaint in their absence and issue findings on the substance of the complaint, thereby bringing the matter to a conclusion.

Each of the Panel members shall be appointed by and on behalf of the Proprietor and will consist of at least three persons not directly involved in the matters detailed in the complaint, at least one of whom shall be independent of the management and running of the school. Panel members will be people who have held positions of responsibility and used to making decisions from a balanced perspective e.g. civil servants; business people; members of the clergy; heads or senior members of staff from other schools; people with a legal background; retired members of public services e.g. police.  The Principal will not sit on the Panel. Panel members will be issued with clear guidance as to the process and direction to reach final decisions within the specified timescale.

The Proprietor, on behalf of the panel, will then acknowledge the complaint or appeal and schedule a hearing to take place as soon as practical and normally within 10 working days of Stage 3 being actioned

The requirement for the panel to proceed does not prevent the school from accommodating parental availability for dates, or for considering comments concerning panel composition.

A Stage 3 Panel Hearing will be a full merit hearing of the complaint.

If the Panel deems it to be necessary, they may require that further particulars of the complaint or any related matter be supplied in advance of the hearing. Copies of such particulars shall be supplied to all parties not later than 2 days prior to the hearing.

Parents may be accompanied to the hearing by one other person. This may be a relative or friend. Parents cannot insist on legal representation at the hearing.

The school keeps a written record of all complaints or appeals for three years, and of whether they are resolved at the preliminary stage or proceed to a panel hearing. Parents can be assured that correspondence, statements, and records relating to individual complaints are kept confidential and subject to the Data Protection Act, except where the Secretary of State; the DfE or a body conducting an inspection under section 162A of the 2002 Act, as amended, requests access to them.

Wherever possible, the Panel will resolve the parents’ complaint or appeal immediately, without the need for further investigation. The Panel’s findings and recommendations will be provided to the complainant, and where relevant the person complained about, within 5 working days of the hearing. In addition, a copy of the findings will be available for inspection on the school premises. The records of complaint will detail what actions were taken (regardless of whether the complaint was upheld), and whether they were resolved at the Preliminary Stage (Stage 2) or proceeded to a Panel Hearing (Stage 3).

Complaints Regarding the Principal

If parents have a complaint regarding the Principal, in the first instance they should arrange to write, meet or speak to her directly.

If they are dissatisfied with the outcome of their communications with the Principal, then they should evoke Stage 3 of the Complaints Procedure.  This will then instigate a Panel Hearing.  Panel Members will need to have had no prior involvement with the complaint and at least one member of the Panel should be completely independent of the school.  The Chair of the Panel will arrange for the matter to be investigated. The Principal cannot sit on the Panel, so as to ensure that the Procedure is impartial.

The Stage 3 Panel Hearing the last complaints process. If the complaint is not resolved, a parent may also raise their concerns with their child’s Surrey Local Authority Case Worker.

Additional Information

Complaints during the holidays – where a complaint is received during or near to the commencement of the school holiday period the school may out of necessity need 28 working days to resolve the complaint.

Complaints during a Covid outbreak – should the school/country be dealing with a Covid or pandemic outbreak the school may need to lengthen the lead times as a consequence of disruption or staff absence. The school will advise the complainant that there may be a delay to the time frame stated and negotiate an alternate conclusion date.

Complaints regarding exclusions – parents should write, speak or meet to the Principal directly. Should parents be dissatisfied with the outcome they should proceed to Stage 3 of the Complaints Procedure.  They should also raise their concerns at the subsequent Emergency Annual Review of EHCP following an exclusion.

On request the school provides the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) with a record of all complaints made during any specified period and the action which was taken as a result of each complaint.

The school will keep a written record of complaints that are made, and whether they are resolved following a formal procedure or proceed to a panel hearing, and the action taken by the school because of these complaints, regardless of whether they are upheld.

The school will retain records of complaints for 7 years for those without safeguarding angles. For those concerning allegations of abuse, they will be preserved for the term of the independent inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse and at least until the accused has reached normal pension age or for 10 years from the date of the allegation if it is longer.

Where repeated attempts are made by a parent to raise the same complaint after it has been considered at all three stages, this can be regarded as vexatious and outside the scope of the policy.

If parents are dissatisfied with the procedure at any point of the investigation or feel that intervention at a higher level is appropriate, parents may lodge a complaint with ISI (www.isi.net).

Independent Schools Inspectorate
Ground Floor
CAP House
9-12 Long Lane
London EC1A 9HA
Telephone: 020 7600 0100

This policy will be reviewed and agreed by the Senior Leadership Team.