Complaints Procedure

Maharishi School

Complaints procedure

knowledge is structured in consciousness


General Principles

  1. The Maharishi Free School Governing Body intends that parents should always feel that the school is open to their concerns and encourages parents to share any concerns they may have at any time with the appropriate member of staff, at the earliest opportunity.
  2. Parents must feel able to raise concerns with members of staff without any formality, in person or by telephone or letter.
  3. If any parent at any time feels unable to raise their concern with any member of the staff, then they should contact the Chairman of Governors (by writing c/o the School).
  4. It may be appropriate on occasion for someone to act on behalf of a parent in raising a concern and the school will respond with sensitivity to this situation.
  5. It is expected that most parental concerns will be dealt with to the satisfaction of both the parent and the school without leading to a complaint. It is inevitable however that some concerns will develop into complaints.
  6. A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction in connection with a real or perceived problem. A complaint may be made if a parent thinks that the school has:
    – Done something wrong;
    – Failed to do something it should have done;
    – Acted unfairly or impolitely; or
    – Acted with less than the high standards of professionalism that could reasonably be expected.
  7. Most complaints will be resolved at an early stage through informal discussions. Parents should feel comfortable in requesting a preliminary discussion with a member of staff in order to clarify matters before deciding whether they wish to make a complaint.
  8. All complaints will be handled seriously with the aim of resolving the complaint quickly and fairly.
  9. The vast majority of complaints can be dealt with informally and with common sense. There will, however, be occasions when a complaint needs to be formally registered and dealt with through a formal procedure. This policy sets out the procedures.
  10. This policy will be applied in the case of a cause of concern or a complaint by a pupil, except for the last point.
  11. Parents will be informed about the policy as part of the contract documentation given to them upon enrolment.

Stage 1 – Informal

  1. Parents are entitled to an opportunity for discussion of their concern with the appropriate member of staff who will clarify with the parent the nature of the concern and assure them that the school wants to hear about it.
  2. If the member of staff first contacted is unable to deal immediately with the matter s/he will make a clear note of the name and contact details of the parent together with a brief outline of the nature of the concern. The member of staff will undertake to refer the matter to the appropriate person with the responsibility to deal with the issue raised, and will give the parent, on behalf of the school, a further undertaking that a response will be given within 10 days at the latest.
  3. If the concern expressed relates to the Headteacher, the parent will be advised to contact the Chairman of Governors in addition to any other opportunity for resolution that may be offered.
  4. Where no satisfactory solution has been found within 10 working days, the parent will be asked if they wish their concern to be considered further. If so, they will be given clear information, both orally and in writing, about how to make a formal written complaint and about any independent advice that may be available to them.

Stage 2 – Headteacher’s Investigation

  1. The Headteacher will acknowledge the formal written complaint orally or in writing within 3 working days of receipt. The acknowledgement will give a brief explanation of the school’s complaints procedure and a target date for providing a response. This should normally be within 10 working days; if this should prove impossible then a letter will be sent explaining the reason for the delay and giving a revised target date.
  2. The Headteacher will provide an opportunity for the complainant to meet to supplement any information already provided. The complainant may be accompanied by a friend or relative or other representative, who can speak on his/her behalf.
  3. If necessary, the Headteacher will interview witnesses and take statements from those involved. If a pupil is to be interviewed and it is not practicable or appropriate for a parent or guardian of that pupil to be present, then another member of staff with whom that pupil feels comfortable should be asked to be present
  4. The Headteacher will keep written records of meetings, interviews, telephone conversations and other documentation relating to the complaint, in a separate file from the pupil’s records.
  5. Once all the relevant facts have been established, the Headteacher will then produce a written response to the complainant and may wish to meet the complainant to discuss the response directly.
  6. The written response will include a full explanation of the decision and the reasons for it. Where appropriate this will include what action the school will take to resolve the complaint. The complainant will be advised that should s/he wish to take the matter further, s/he should notify the Chairman of Governors in writing within 5 weeks of receiving the written response from the Headteacher, by writing to the Chairman, via the Clerk to the Governors at the School.
  7. If the complaint is against the Headteacher, or the Headteacher has been involved very closely at Stage 1, then the Chairman of Governors should carry out the Stage 2 procedures.

Stage 3 – Review by Governing Body

  1. The Clerk to the Governing Body will write to the complainant to acknowledge receipt of the written request within 5 working days of receipt. The acknowledgement will inform the complainant that the complaint will be heard by a Panel of 3 people, two of whom will be members of the Governing Body and the third of whom will be a named person of good standing in the local community who is neither a school governor, nor a member of the school staff, nor a parent of a child at the school, within 20 working days of receipt and will explain that the complainant has the right to submit any further documentation, subject only that such further documentation be received in time to be circulated to the committee members 3 working days before the hearing.
  2. The Clerk will convene the Governors’ Complaints Panel, the members of which should have had no prior involvement with the complaint. The Panel will be chaired by either the Chairman of Governors or the Vice-Chairman.
  3. The Panel Chairman will write to the complainant, the Headteacher, any relevant witnesses and Panel members at least 5 working days in advance, of the date, time and place of the hearing. The notice to the complainant will also inform him/her of the right to be accompanied by a friend, relative or advocate and will also explain how the meeting will be conducted and remind the complainant of his/her right to submit further written evidence to the Panel.
  4. The Chairman of the Panel will invite the Headteacher to attend the hearing and to prepare a written report for the Panel in response to the complaint. The Headteacher may also invite members of staff directly involved in matters raised by the complainant to respond in writing.
  5. All relevant correspondence relating to the complaint will be given to the Panel members at least 3 working days before the hearing and if the documentation is extensive, the Panel Chairman will provide a thorough written summary in addition.
  6. It is the responsibility of the Chairman of the Panel to ensure that the hearing is properly minuted and that it is conducted in the interests of natural justice.
  7. The involvement in person at the hearing of members of staff other than the Headteacher is at the discretion of the Chairman of the Panel.
  8. The aim of the hearing is to resolve the complaint and to achieve reconciliation between the school and the complainant. If this is not possible, then the Panel must at least establish the facts and make recommendations that are defensible and appropriate. The complainant should be satisfied that the complaint has been taken seriously.
  9. At the end of the hearing, the Chairman of the Panel will explain to both the complainant and the Headteacher that the Panel will consider its decision privately and carefully in the light of the facts revealed in the hearing and will send a written statement of its decision (including any action to be taken to resolve the situation and any recommendations that may be made to change the schools’ procedures or systems to ensure that a similar problem does not happen again) to both parties within 15 working days. The letter to the complainant will explain whether a further appeal can be made and if so to whom.
  10. A copy of all correspondence and notes will be kept in the school’s files, separately from the pupil’s personal records.


Complaints Received  to-date for 2016-2017 0