Roselyn House School / The RHISE Service
Complaints and Representations Policy
We recognise that parents or carers play an important part in making this happen. Co-operation between parents, staff and the proprietors (KS Education Limited) of Roselyn House School/ The RHISE Service leads to a shared sense of purpose and a good atmosphere in school.
Each level of the procedure set out below offers the opportunity for concerns and complaints to be resolved as quickly as possible.
Each parent or carer will receive a copy of this document in their student welcome pack, given at interview. Further copies are available on request from Mrs Smith- Business Manager.
LEVEL 1 – INFORMAL
Parents or Carers should, in the first instance, telephone and/or make an appointment to speak to the Headteacher, Miss S Damerall, Deputy Headteacher, Mr Birkenhead, or Business Manager- Mrs R Smith about their concern. Everything will be done to try to resolve the issue at this point.
Roselyn House School/ The RHISE Service Guidance on:
Level 1 Informal - Concern Stage
Concerns should initially be handled informally in a manner that offers the best way of resolving issues.
The aforementioned person who has been contacted should offer an appointment to discuss the issue as quickly as possible, as this will give both parties the opportunity to discuss the matter calmly and politely without being interrupted. This can allow parties to remain calm. It also shows Roselyn House School/ The RHISE Service’s commitment to resolving issues.
It is important for parents or carers to recognise that school can be busy and that it may not be possible to offer an appointment straight away.
The parties involved should be encouraged to offer their view of what would be a realistic resolution to the problem.
It is in everyone’s interest, particularly the young person or young people, for concerns and complaints to be sorted out quickly and smoothly.
The aim should be that discussions end on a positive note with no bad feeling.
It is good practice to write a letter to parents/ carers summarising what has been agreed regarding the issue.
It is hoped that most problems will have been resolved following this procedure.
Level 2 Formal Complaint Stage - Letter to Headteacher
An issue that has not been resolved through the informal level 1 can become an official complaint.
If parents or carers do not feel satisfied with the informal level 1 approach, then if they wish to move on to level 2 they must write a formal letter of complaint to the Headteacher:-
Miss Sharon Damerall
Roselyn House School
Off Wigan Road
(Complaints for The RHISE Service should also be sent to this address).
The letter should clearly set out the issues which have previously been discussed and why the parent or carer considers the issue to be unresolved. Alternatively, the attached complaints form can be completed. Should you wish to obtain a further copy of this form, please contact Mrs Smith, Business Manager. Upon receipt of the written complaint, the Headteacher will consider the complaint and discuss a resolution with the Complainant. The Headteacher will offer a resolution to the Complainant in writing within 10 school days of receipt of the letter of complaint.
Roselyn House School’s Guidance on Level 2 – Formal Written Complaint
An unresolved issue can now move to a formal complaint. This is a serious step to be taken. In consideration of future home/school relationships everyone concerned will need to negotiate an agreement and concentrate on finding a resolution to the issue.
Stage 3- Complaints Panel
If the Complainant feels the complaint has not been resolved they should proceed to level 3, Roselyn House School/ The RHISE Service Complaints Panel.
The decision that the Headteacher has made as a result of the complaint does not become a complaint about the Headteacher. (If there is a safeguarding concern regarding the Headteacher, this should be made to the LADO, Tim Booth following the Safeguarding Policy).
If the complainant is dissatisfied with the outcome at Stage 2 and wishes to take the matter further, they should write to the Headteacher giving details of their concerns and asking for the matter to be given further consideration. They should outline why they do not feel an appropriate outcome has been reached at Stage 2. This letter will then be forwarded to the Complaints Panel.
A request to escalate to stage 3 must be made to the Headteacher, via the school office within 5 school days of receipt of the stage 2 response.
The Complaints Panel Chair will record the date the complaint is received and acknowledge receipt of the complaint in writing either by letter or email within 2 school days. Peninsula Business Services will be contacted for advice.
Requests outside of this timeframe will only be considered if exceptional circumstances apply.
If the Complainant wishes to take the matter further, a Panel Hearing will be convened. This would consist of at least three people who are not directly involved in the previous consideration of the complaint.
The Complaints Panel will decide whether to deal with the complaint by inviting parties to a meeting or through written representations, but in making the decision will be sensitive to the complainant’s needs.
Where a Panel Hearing is convened, one person on the panel must be independent of the management and running of the school. Prior to the meeting, they will decide amongst theirselves who will act as Chair of the Complaints Panel.
The Chair of the Complaints Panel will aim to convene a meeting within 20 school days of receipt of the stage 3 request. If this is not possible, the Headteacher will provide an anticipated date and keep the complainant informed.
If the complainant rejects the offer of at least three proposed dates, without good reason, the Headteacher will decide when to hold the meeting. It will then proceed in the complainant’s absence on the basis of written submissions from both parties.
If the complainant is invited to attend the meeting, they may bring someone along to provide support. This could be a relative or friend. It is not encouraged for either party to bring along legal representatives. However, there may be occasions when this is appropriate. A representative from the media would not be allowed to attend.
Before the meeting:
At least 5 school days before the meeting, the Headteacher will:
Confirm and notify the complainant of the date, time and venue of the meeting, ensuring that the dates are convenient to all attending and that the venue and proceedings are accessible
Request copies of any further written material to be submitted at least 3 school days before the meeting
Any written materials will be circulated 3 days prior to the meeting to all parties attending. Recordings will not be accepted which have been obtained covertly and without informed consent of all parties being recorded. Eg: via mobile phones.
At the meeting:
The Panel will not review any new complaints at this stage or consider evidence unrelated to the initial complaint. Any new complaints must be dealt with at Stage 2 of this procedure.
The meeting will be held in private. The meeting will not be electronically recorded unless a complainant’s disability or special need requires it. Consent of all parties must be sought and recorded in minutes from the meeting.
The Panel will consider the complaint and all the evidence presented. The Panel can:
Uphold the complaint in whole or in part
Dismiss the complaint in whole or in part
If the complaint is upheld in whole or in part the panel will:
Decide on the appropriate action to take to resolve the complaint
Recommend changes where appropriate to school systems or procedures to prevent further issues of a similar nature in the future
After the meeting:
The Chair of the Complaint Panel will provide the complainant with a full explanation of their decision and the reason(s) for it, in writing, within 5 school days.
This response will detail actions taken to investigate the complaint and provide full explanation and details that have been taken to resolve the complaint.
The letter will also advise on how the complainant could escalate their complaint if they are still dissatisfied.
If the complainant believes the school did not handle their complaint in accordance with this complaints procedure or they acted unlawfully or unreasonably in the exercise their duties under duration law, they can contact the Department for Education after they have completed stage 2.
The Department for Education will not normally reinvestigate the complaint but would consider whether Roselyn House School/ The RHISE Service had adhered to education legislation and statutory policies connected to the complaint.
Department for Education contact:
Tel: 0370 000 2288
Department for Education
Any complaints concerning the conduct of school staff will be handled in accordance with the school’s Internal Disciplinary Procedures. The details of such an investigation will remain confidential.
Written records will be kept of all complaints and their outcomes, whether they were resolved at level 1 (informal), Level 2 (written complaint) or Level 3 (Complaints Panel).
All statements, correspondence and records of complaints will be kept confidential in the School Business Manager’s Office and will only be viewed by those involved in investigating he complaint except where the Secretary of State or body conducting an inspection under section 109 of the 2008 Act requests access to them.
There is additional guidance available for the roles and responsibilities within these procedures.
Reviewed June 2023
Roles and Responsibilities
The complainant will receive a more effective response to the complaint if they:
Explain the complaint in full as early as possible
Co-operate with Roselyn House School / The RHISE Service in seeking a solution to the complaint
Respond promptly to requests for information or meetings in agreeing the details of the complaint
Ask for assistance as needed
Treat all those involved in the complaint with respect
Refrain from publicising the details of their complaint on Social Media and respect confidentiality.
The investigator’s role is to establish the facts relevant to the complaint by:
Providing a comprehensive, open, transparent and fair consideration of the complaint through:
Sensitive and thorough interviewing of the complainant to establish what has happened and who has been involved
Interviewing staff and children/young people and any other people relevant to the complaint
Consideration of records and other relevant information
The investigator should:
Conduct interviews with an open mind and be prepared to persist in the questioning
Keep notes of interviews or arrange for an independent note taker to record minutes of the meeting
Ensure that any papers produced during the investigation are kept securely pending any appeal
Be mindful of the timescales to respond
Prepare a comprehensive report for the Head Teacher or complaints committee that sets out the facts, identifies solutions and recommends courses of action to resolve problems.
The Head Teacher or complaints committee will then determine whether to uphold or dismiss the complaint and communicate that decision to the complainant, providing the appropriate escalation details.
Complaints Co-ordinator (this could be the Head Teacher)
The complaints co-ordinator should:
Ensure that the complaint is fully updated at each stage of the procedure
Liaise with staff members, Head Teacher, Chair of Governors, Clerk and LAs (if appropriate) to ensure the smooth running of the complaints procedure
Be aware of issues regarding
Sharing third party information
Additional support. This may be needed by complainants when making a complaint including interpretation support or where the complainant is a child or young person
Ensure that all people involved in the complaint procedure are aware of their legal rights and duties, including any under legislation relating to school complaints, education law, the Equality Act 2010, the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the Data Protection Act (DPA) 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)
Set the date, time and venue of the meeting, ensuring that the dates are convenient to all parties (if they are invited to attend) and that the venue and proceedings are accessible
Collate any written material to the complaint (for example; stage 1 paperwork, school and complainant submissions) and send it to the parties in advance of the meeting within an agreed timescale
Record the proceedings
Circulate the minutes of the meeting
Notify all parties of the committee’s decision.
The committee’s chair, who is nominated in advance of the complaint meeting, should ensure that:
Both parties are asked (via the Head Teacher) to provide any additional information relating to the complaint by a specified date in advance of the meeting
The meeting is conducted in an informal manner, and is not adversarial, and that, if all parties are invited to attend, everyone is treated with respect and courtesy
Complainants who may not be used to speaking at such a meeting are put at ease. This is particularly important if the complainant is a child/young person
The remit of the committee is explained to the complainant
Written material is seen by everyone in attendance, provided it does not breach confidentiality or any individual’s rights to privacy under the DPA 2018 or GDPR
If a new issue arises it would be useful to give everyone the opportunity to consider and comment upon it; this may require a short adjournment of the meeting
Both the complainant and the school are given the opportunity to make their case and seek clarity, either through written submissions ahead of the meeting or verbally in the meeting itself
The issues are addressed
Key findings of fact are made
The committee is open-minded and acts independently
No member of the committee has an external interest in the outcome of the proceedings and any involvement in an earlier stage of the procedure
The meeting is minuted
They liaise with the Clerk (and complaints co-ordinator, if the school has one).
Committee members should be aware that:
The meeting must be independent and impartial and should be seen to be so. No governor may sit on the committee if they have had prior involvement in the complaint or in the circumstances surrounding it
The aim of the meeting should be to resolve the complaint and achieve reconciliation between the school and the complainant
We recognise that the complainant might not be satisfied with the outcome if the meeting does not find in their favour. It may only be possible to establish the facts and make recommendations
Many complainants will feel nervous and inhibited in a formal setting.
Parents/carers often feel emotional when discussing an issue that affects their child.
Extra care needs to be taken when the complainant is a child/young person and present during all or part of the meeting.
Careful consideration of the atmosphere and proceedings should ensure that the child/young person does not feel intimidated.
The committee should respect the views of the child/young person and give them equal consideration to those of adults.
If the child/young person is the complainant, the committee should ask in advance if any support is needed to help them present their complaint. Where the child/young person’s parent is the complainant, the committee should give the parent the opportunity to say which parts of the meeting, if any, the child/young person needs to attend.
However, the parent should be advised that agreement might not always be possible if the parent wishes the child/young person to attend a part of the meeting that the committee considers is not in the child/young person’s best interests.
The welfare of the child/young person is paramount.
ROSELYN HOUSE SCHOOL / THE RHISE CENTRE
Please complete and return this form to Miss Damerall, the Headteacher, who will acknowledge receipt and explain what action will be taken.
Your Relationship to the Student:
Day Telephone Number:
Evening Telephone Number:
Please give details of your complaint:
What action, if any, have you already taken to try and resolve your complaint (who did you speak to and what was their response)?
What actions do you feel might resolve the problem at this stage?
Are you attaching any paperwork? Yes / No
If so, please give details:
OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Date acknowledgement sent: / /
Complaint referred to:
Date: / /