Our Complaints Procedure
Howard House recognises that at times things can go wrong. This guidance will help you understand how to resolve concerns that you may have about your child’s education, school, or school staff.
The school has procedures for dealing with concerns or complaints and we value any feedback about our services, including compliments and suggestions. If you are concerned about any aspect of your child’s education, school, or school staff you should contact The Operations Manager.
The Operations Manager has overall responsibility for the school and for ensuring the well being of pupils and that all pupils receive an appropriate and high standard of education.
The Operations Manager is responsible for making decisions on a daily basis about the school’s internal management and organisation.
You should contact the school if you are concerned about an issue such as: • your child’s academic progress • special education needs provision • your child’s welfare • bullying • something that has happened in school.
How do I complain to the school?
Should you have any cause for complaint, please call The Operations Manager at Howard House School who will be able to deal with your concern.
If you feel that your concern has not been resolved, then it is important to speak to or write to the Management Committee who will look into your concern.
If you are unhappy with the Operations Manager’s response you should write with your complaint to the Management Committee at the school address. Mark your envelope ‘FOR IMMEDIATE ATTENTION’.
How do we handle your complaint?
Within 5 working days the Management Committee will clarify the nature of your complaint by asking you to complete a complaints form and will offer help in completing the form, if appropriate (currently as there is no management committee your complaint will be handled by The Company Director)
Within 5 working days of receiving the complaints form, The Company Director will decide whether mediation should be offered to help explore possible resolution. If mediation is agreed, the Operations Manager will endeavour to set up the meeting within 10 working days. If that timescale is not possible you will be told the reason.
If mediation is not deemed appropriate or if it is not successful, The Operations Manager will set up a panel of representatives to meet within 15 working days to consider your complaint. The secretary will provide details of the hearing and will request any further information you may wish to provide.
Five working days before the hearing the secretary will send to you, the complainant, The Operations Manager ,and the three panel members, copies of all papers submitted by both sides so that there is sufficient time to read the evidence before the hearing. You have the right to have someone to accompany you at this stage should you wish.
The complaints panel will consist of three people who will have no prior knowledge of the events being complained of one of whom is independent of the school.
The panel will be supported by a secretary who will take notes during the hearing and will stay with the panel while they make their decision in case the panel need to be reminded about responses to a particular question. The panel will hear the complaint impartially and make their decision without fear or favour.
At the Meeting
1. You and the Head of School will be invited into the room where the panel is being held at the same time.
2. After introductions, you, the complainant will be invited to explain your complaint.
3. The Head of School may question you.
4. The panel will question you.
5. The Head of School will be invited to explain the school’s actions.
6. You, the complainant may question the Head of School.
7. The panel will question the Head of School.
8. The panel may ask questions at any point.
9. You, the complainant will then be invited to sum up your complaint.
10. The Head of School will then be invited to sum up the school’s actions and response to the complaint.
11. The chair will explain that you and the Head of School will hear from the panel within five working days.
12. Both you and the Head of School will leave together while the panel decides on the issues.
13. The secretary will remain with the panel.
All parties will be notified of the panel’s findings, face to face and in writing. A copy will be kept on the school premises
Can I take my complaint further?
If you feel that your complaint is unresolved or, if you feel that the school has acted unreasonably or has not followed the correct procedures, you are advised to contact the Education Officer for your placing Local Authority (we will be happy to supply any contact details you need).
The Education Officer at your placing Local Authority will take details and will advise you how they will deal with your complaint.
You can also write to the Secretary of State for Education: Click Here
The benefits of mediation
Mediation can be a good way to resolve a complaint because:
It gives both complainant and Head of School another opportunity to hear each other’s points of view (with a third party facilitating).
It gives the third party an opportunity to help Head of School and complainant explore and build on areas of agreement.
It gives Head of School and complainant a structure within which they can resolve remaining differences.
Both complainant and Head of School emerge from the mediation satisfied, that is the best foundation for a continuing positive relationship between them.
Even if the complaint continues to the management committee, the issues to be considered should be much clearer.
Mediation may elicit one or more of the responses listed below from either party:
An acknowledgment that the complaint is valid in whole or in part.
An admission that the situation could have been handled differently or better.
An assurance that the event complained of will not recur.
An explanation of the steps that have been taken to ensure that it will not happen again.
A review of school policies in light of the complaint.
Recourse to mediation must be with the agreement of both parties and is intended to help arrive at a mutually agreeable solution – it is not possible to impose this on either party. Nor does it prevent a complainant having recourse to formal appeals procedures.
In-house mediation members of the management committee and other staff are able to conduct a mediation process between their Head of School and a complainant with an understanding that mediation does not always work and there is a further step available to complainants.
Reviewed: March 2019
Next Review: March 2020