We hope that parents never feel the need to make a formal complaint. However, we know that there will be times when parents may wish to raise concerns and issues with the school, including making a formal complaint. Parents wishing to raise a concern, make a inquiry or make an informal complaint are encouraged to discuss the matter …
Formal Complaints Procedures
Parents can be assured that all complaints are dealt with in confidence. Where a complaint concerns a member of staff, parents should be aware that if they want the matter to be addressed by the school (usually the Headteacher or other senior member of staff) then any issues raised verbally or in writing may be shared directly with the member of staff concerned in order to give them an opportunity to consider the matter, share their view and consider an appropriate response to the parent.
Expected Behaviour of Complainants / Parents
When raising a concern, we expect all parents (and other family members) to approach and speak to members of staff in such a way that an appropriate and professional conversation might take place, including, if needed, in an appropriate setting, and that the member of staff might be given a chance to listen to the concern or complaint or information being shared, consider it, and offer a immediate response, if an immediate response is possible. It may not be possible for members of staff to respond to an inquiry or complaint straight away, particularly if more information regarding an incident or event needs to be considered, clarified or investigated further. In these circumstances, the member of staff may offer to make a further appointment with the parent or follow up the inquiry/complaint by telephone. When raising an issue with members of staff, we ask parents not to:
The school does not tolerate abusive or aggressive behaviour towards members of staff. Any parent who is abusive to staff whilst making a complaint will be asked to leave the premises and return at another time to have their complaint considered in a appropriate setting.
Parents Use of Social Media with regard to Complaints about the School
All complaints, inquiries, concerns, grumbles and grievances should be aired in an appropriate setting with the school. The school does not have access to individual Facebook or other social media pages to respond to parents’ general questions, grumbles or negative discussions, particularly when what is posted about an issue or event is incorrect, inaccurate or unfair. The school would like an opportunity to consider and respond to all complaints and suggestions. Whilst we appreciate the right to parents’ freedom of speech, parents are ask to appreciate that Facebook and other social media sites are not the best place to post general complaints and gripes about the school. Social media can be a forum where thoughts and anger are expressed in inappropriate ways and where comments to other parents can fuel comments and responses, making a situation worse or placing an issue or complaint firmly in the public domain when it does not need to be.
Often, the comments posted by parents on Social Media rarely resolve the matter or enable the school to respond appropriately. The school treats all complaints and discussions with parents in confidence and we expect parents to do the same. In the interests of maintaining positive, respectful and trusting relationships between the school and its pupils and staff, the school would never share a derogatory comment about a child, a parent, a member of staff, a governor or a person in the wider community in the public domain or via social media. (We know that parents would be very unhappy if any member of staff did so). We expect all parents to share the same values and respect for the school and its staff and governors, and in doing so set a good example to their children, who, through our curriculum, are encouraged to use technology and social media in good ways avoiding insulting, bullying or other poor behaviour towards others. The school will take action to address any comments placed on social media which it feels are unfair to the school or to members of staff, pupils, parents or other stakeholders. Parents should be aware that the school will take action to address any derogatory comments made by parents or pupils about members of staff or governors on social media.
The school will also seek legal advice as it may be that comments shared in the public domain by parents are in breach of legislation which aims to protect individuals from defamation or malicious communications. A defamatory statement is one which would tend to lower the subject in the estimation of people. It may be considered unlawful to write something about a person online that:
Section 1 of the Defamation Act 2013 says that an individual is guilty of an offence where he/she publishes a statement that causes, or is likely to cause, serious harm to the reputation of the claimant. It is possible therefore that derogatory, insulting or disparaging comments about staff made by parents or pupils on social media are covered by this legislation as they could potential “lower the subject in the estimation of people” or “cause harm to their reputation.” The Malicious Communications Act 1998 states that it is an offence to send another person a letter, electronic communication or article of any description which conveys:
In general, parents are advised not to post ANY comments on social media about the school or its staff and we thank parents for your support in this matter.