At Spring Meadow Primary School & School House Nursery we welcome enquiries from parents/carers about any matter. We aim to help relieve anxieties and ensure parents/carers are fully supported with all concerns fully investigated.
Staff can explain the practices, policies, and how they affect the pupils attending the nursery. The majority of concerns will be handled by the Nursery Teacher and then the Nursery Leader and the usual procedure is to speak to them in the first instance, or to contact the school office to make an appointment to discuss your concern with them.
At Spring Meadow School House Nursery we follow the Local Authority (Essex County Council) guidelines when handling concerns and complaints. This procedure is divided into three stages.
Stage one: Your initial contact with the school
Parent/carers are always welcome to come to the appropriate member of staff with a concern. The member of staff will either discuss the problem there and then, if practicable, or arrange a mutually convenient time to meet with the parent.
The nature of the concern will be clarified between the parent/carer and the member of staff. If possible the member of staff may be able to explain how something happened or the member of staff may need to investigate the concern, especially if the nature of the concern involves another child and the member of staff was unaware of the problem before it was raised by the parent.
If the member of staff first contacted cannot immediately deal with the concern they will make a note of the date, name and contact details and give the parent/carer an idea of when they can expect to be contacted by the member of staff.
The member of staff dealing with the matter should make sure that the parent/carer is clear what action or monitoring of the situation has been agreed, if any.
The first contact may be to the Nursery Teacher if the matter concerns the whole of the Nursery. The Nursery Teacher will endeavour to discuss the issue at the earliest possible time, and we aim to do this within 3 working days. If you are still dissatisfied following this informal approach, your concern will become a formal complaint and we will deal with it at the next stage.
Stage Two- Formal consideration of your complaint:
If, having expressed a concern to the appropriate member of staff, no satisfactory solution has been found, parents are asked if they wish their concerns to be considered further. If so, they are advised to contact the Head Teacher in writing.
The Head Teacher will acknowledge your complaint in writing as soon as possible. This will normally be within three working days.
As part of our consideration of the complaint, we may invite you to a meeting to discuss the complaint. If you wish you can bring someone to accompany you.
At this meeting there is an opportunity for the parent to add to any information previously provided.
Where necessary, following the meeting, the Head Teacher will interview witnesses and take statements from those involved.
The Head Teacher will keep written records of all meetings and conversations, which are dated, along with other related documentation.
Once all relevant facts have been established, the Head teacher will send you a written response to your complaint. This will include a full explanation of the decision and the reasons for the decision.
If the parent/carer is still dissatisfied they have the right to make their views known to the Clerk to the Governors or to the Chair of Governors, within five weeks of receiving the letter.
If the complaint is against an action of the Head Teacher (or if the Head Teacher has been very closely involved at Stage 1) the Chair of Governors will carry out all of the Stage 2 procedures.
Stage Three- Consideration by the Governing Body:
Chair of Governors:
When the chair of governors designated by the governing body to deal with concerns or complaints receives notice of a complaint, they will decide whether it is appropriate to seek an informal resolution to the issue.
If so the governor will:
- Either telephone and/or meet the parent/carer to hear their side of the story
- Talk to the Head Teacher to hear the Nursery’s view
- Discuss with the Head Teacher how the issue might be resolved
- Agree with the Head Teacher whether they could be a facilitator/ mediator
between the Head Teacher and the parent
- Seek to resolve the matter to the satisfaction of the Head and the parent/carer.
If the Chair of the Governing Body decides that the above action is not appropriate or having tried the above action the matter is still not resolved, then they must write to the parent/carer informing them that the matter will be referred to the Complaints Review Panel. The letter should also explain that the parent has the right to submit any further documents relevant to the concern or complaint.
Consideration by a Complaints Review Panel:
- According to the arrangements of the Complaints Review Panel as agreed by
the governing body, the Clerk to the Governors will seek to convene a panel within twenty working days.
- The Clerk will ask the Head Teacher to prepare a written report for the panel
in response to the complaint. The Head Teacher should additionally ask members of staff directly involved in the matter raised to prepare reports.
- The Clerk to the Governors will write and inform the parent, Head Teacher
and members of the panel of the date, time and place of meeting and will explain all rights to all those involved.
- Subject to prior agreement the Head Teacher may invite members of staff
directly involved in matters raised by the parent to attend the meeting.
- It is the responsibility of the Chair of the panel to ensure that minutes are
taken at the meeting.
- The aim is to reconcile the differences between the Nursery and the
parents/carers. Sometimes it may only be possible to establish the facts and make recommendations that satisfy the parent/carers that their complaint has been taken seriously.
- The Chair of the panel will ensure that the meeting is as informal as possible.
- If either the Nursery or the parent/carers wish to introduce previously undisclosed evidence or a witness, it is in the interests of natural justice to adjourn the meeting so that the evidence can be considered and responded to.
The meeting should allow for:
- The parent/carer to explain his/her complaint and the Head Teacher to
explain the Nursery’s response;
- Both the Head Teacher and the parent/carer are able to ask questions of each
- Panel members to have an opportunity to ask questions;
- The parent/carer and the Nursery to call witnesses and for anyone to be able
to question those witnesses;
- Final statements by both the Nursery and parent/carer
- The Chair and panel explain that they will consider their decision and send it in writing to the Nursery and parent/carer within two weeks. The parent/carer and Nursery staff then leave the meeting.
The panel will consider the complaint to:
- Reach a unanimous/majority decision
- Decide upon appropriate action to resolve the complaint
- Recommend changes to the governing body of the Nursery or changes to the policies to avoid similar problems, if appropriate.
All parties will be informed of the decision by letter and whether an appeal can be made and to whom the appeal should be addressed. A copy of all correspondence and notes must be kept on school file but separately from the pupil’s personal records.
The role of the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) and the Local Safeguarding Children Board:
Parents/carers may approach Ofsted directly at any stage of this complaints procedure. In addition, where there seems to be a possible breach of the setting’s registration requirements, it is essential to involve Ofsted as the registering and inspecting body with a duty to ensure the Safeguarding and Welfare Requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage are adhered to.
If a child appears to be at risk, our setting follows the procedures of the Local
Safeguarding Children Board.
In these cases, both the parent/carer and the setting are informed and the Senior Leader Team works with Ofsted or the Local Safeguarding Children Board to ensure a proper investigation of the complaint, followed by appropriate action.
A record of complaints in relation to our setting, or the children or the adults
working in our setting, is kept; including the date, the circumstances of the complaint and how the complaint was managed.
The outcome of complaints is recorded and then securely filed, which is available for parents and Ofsted on request.
Links to other policies
Child Protection Policy
Parent and Carer Code of Conduct