Handling Complaint: Advice for schools

This advice makes suggestions about how any concern, complaint or allegation received by the school might be handled. It does not form part of any formally adopted procedure but may help where a school has adopted the local authority model.

Definition of a complaint

  1. In its initial stages (Part A) it sets out how the school will receive any complaint, of whatever nature, and how it will respond to the complainant. The investigative and appeal stages (Part B) are only to be used to deal with concerns or complaints about a school decision, a policy or procedure, or the way a school policy or procedure has (or has not) been implemented. If, at any stage, a complaint is received alleging child abuse, the member of staff or governor receiving the complaint will contact the local authority for advice immediately via the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO). In such cases, the school will be advised to ensure that the procedures set out by the Cumbria Local Safeguarding Board are followed. Any other allegation of misconduct or misbehaviour by a member of staff should not be treated using the Part B advice: the governing body should have adopted a separate disciplinary procedure for dealing with such matters.
  2. Concerns and complaints may be expressed by parents, carers, volunteers or members of the community with an interest in the working of the school, on matters for which the school is directly responsible. For the purposes of this advice, a complaint may beregarded as the formal registering of what may previously have been raised informally as a concern, either by the complainant requesting that the school use the formal procedure, or the school determining that it should use the procedure. This advice mayalso be used to support the handling of any complaints raised about volunteers, such as governors, where employment procedures are not appropriate.

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