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Lanercost CE Primary School Complaints Procedure

We care about what you think

Every day this school makes many decisions and we try hard to act in the best interests of all pupils. Your comments - either positive or negative - are helpful for future planning. 

We know that sometimes our decisions may not align with your wishes. We also know that occasionally we will make mistakes. You may want to talk to us about a particular aspect of school life, though not actually make a complaint - you just want to get something ‘off your chest’.

If you are dissatisfied or have questions about the way your child is being treated, or any actions or lack of action by us, please feel free to contact us using the details on the Contact Us tab.

Our aims:

  • Your comment or complaint will be dealt with honestly, politely and in confidence.
  • Your comment or complaint will be looked into thoroughly and fairly.
  • If your complaint is urgent, we will deal with it more quickly.
  • We will keep you up to date with progress at each stage.
  • You will get an apology if we have made a mistake.
  • You will be told what we are going to do to put things right.
  • You will get a full and clear written reply to formal complaints within 15 school days (3 weeks).

How to make a complaint

In the first instance – informal stage:

If you have a concern about anything we do, or if you wish to make a complaint, you can do this by telephone, in person or in writing (by letter or email).  We hope that most complaints can be settled quickly and informally, either by putting matters right or by giving you an explanation. If there is something you are not happy about, or you don’t understand why we are doing something in a particular way, please come in and discuss it with the class teacher or another appropriate member of staff, such as the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) if it is about Special Needs.  

We know that it can feel uncomfortable to question or challenge something, but if you don’t tell us what is worrying you, we cannot explain what we are doing or try to put it right.  If the member of staff you speak to in the first instance is unable to attempt to resolve the matter, you should make an appointment with the Headteacher. You should be able to sort out your worries but sometimes this is not possible.  In this case there is a next step (summarised below and set out in more detail in our Complaints Policy/Procedure).

First formal stage:

Request a meeting with the Headteacher who will investigate your complaint and aim to inform you of the outcome as soon as possible and within 15 school days (3 weeks).  

If your first contact is with individual Governors, they will advise you to take up your concerns with the appropriate member of staff or Headteacher.  A Governor should not be made aware of a potential complaint as they may be required to sit on a Panel in the event of a formal hearing (Stage Two) and should be impartial.   

If your complaint is about the Headteacher, you should contact the Chair of Governors (chair@lanercost.cumbria.sch.uk or by letter addressed to the Chair of Governors, marked Private & Confidential and delivered to the school office). The Chair of Governors (or another nominated Governor) will investigate your complaint and aim to inform you of the outcome as soon as possible and within 15 school days (3 weeks).

Second formal stage:

If you remain dissatisfied following Stage 1 and wish to take your complaint further, you should contact the Chair of Governors in one of the ways set out above within 10 school days (two weeks) of receiving the Stage 1 outcome. You should:

  • Make it clear why you are complaining.
  • Say who you have spoken to already and why you were dissatisfied with the Stage 1 investigation.
  • Explain what you want to happen as a result of your complaint.  

The Chair of Governors will arrange for your complaint to be considered and investigated under the arrangements approved by the Governing Body (as set out in our Complaints Policy).  This is likely to involve a Panel of Governors.  If the Chair of Governors or another Governor has been involved in discussions to help settle the disagreement at Stage 1, s/he will arrange for another Governor to take charge of the investigation.  The Governor in charge of investigating the complaint may ask to meet you to discuss your concerns.  

You should make sure that the Governors' Complaint Panel is provided with any written information or evidence you intend to use in a formal hearing.  You may bring a friend, representative or interpreter to any meeting if you wish.  The Chair of the Panel may invite any person who may help establish the facts of the complaint.  The Chair should tell you who this person is before the meeting.  If any member of staff is required by the Governing Body to attend a meeting, they will have the opportunity to be accompanied or represented as they wish.  A member of staff named in a complaint may also choose to attend a meeting, even if not required to do so by the Governors.  They may be represented.  If this happens, we will inform you in advance.

When the Panel has fully investigated your complaint, the Chair of the Panel, or the Governor in charge of the investigation will write to you to tell you the findings.  These findings will be reported to the Governing Body.  The Chair of the Committee will then write to you confirming the outcome of your complaint and any agreed actions to be taken.  Our Governing Body will aim to deal with your complaint as soon as possible and within 10 school days (2 weeks).

Further recourse:

If, at the end of Stage 2, you believe that the school did not handle the complaint in accordance with our published complaints procedure or we acted unlawfully or unreasonably in the exercise of our duties under education law, you can contact the Department for Education at: 

www.education.gov.uk/contactus, by telephone on: 0370 000 2288 or by writing to:

Department for Education
Piccadilly Gate
Store Street
M1 2W

The Department for Education will not normally reinvestigate the substance of complaints or overturn any decisions made by Lanercost C of E Primary School. They will consider whether Lanercost C of E Primary School has adhered to education legislation and any statutory policies connected with the complaint. 

See below for the updated Complaint Policy and Procedures September 2021