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Can Governors just ignore complaints?

(13 Posts)
plumsauce Thu 28-Feb-13 19:29:28

Thanks all - it is an LEA school.
I contacted someone at the council for guidance. They then called the school who advised that the Chair is in the process of responding and we should get a letter from them within the statutory time limits hmm.
I have e-mailed the Clerk asking for a copy of their complaints policy to be sent so I can see what these time limits are.

Littlefish Thu 28-Feb-13 19:16:04

I phoned governor services when I had a complaint about the governors. Achey told me to go to the secretary and request the "non-curricululum complaints procedure".

I was given a copy, filled in the form as per the instructions and returned it to the school. The policy gives precise timescales under which the governors must respond. Mine was delayed by the fact that it spanned a holiday.

The school cannot refuse to give you a copy of the complaints procedure. If necessary, contact governor services, or write directly to the Chair of Governors stating that you want a copy of the complaints procedure.

neolara Thu 28-Feb-13 11:45:06

Find out who the clerk of governors is through the school office and find out how to contact them. Ask the clerk to send you a copy of the complaints policy. Then follow the procedure to the letter. Normally a complaints procedure will have a time frame for responding. Is it an academy school or an LEA school?

BreconBeBuggered Thu 28-Feb-13 11:36:06

Did the letter go to the Chair of Governors at home or at school? If you sent it to the school it would have been signed for but could still be sitting in a pigeonhole if s/he is away. The complaints policy has to be easily available; that's the whole point of it. You don't need an appointment. You're only asking for a couple of sheets of paper. Our GB has a 10-day turnaround to respond and 3 weeks from receipt of complaint to offer an appointment with a sub-committee, just to give you a guide.

DeWe Thu 28-Feb-13 10:17:49

All complaints have to be answered by the governors, even if the complaint is ridiculous. I don't know what the timescale they have to respond is though. If you handed it into the school, are you sure it got to the governors?

I would send (directly if possible) a letter asking for confirmation that they received the letter (occasionally things go astray) and when they expect to have answered your complaint.

It could be that they have a meeting coming up which will deal with your complaint.

sittinginthesun Thu 28-Feb-13 08:26:45

Good point - Freedom of Information request if they won't produce their procedure.

In my experience, it can't be dealt with by the full governing body. I know of a case where the full body was aware of the complaint, and County had to assist in making up a committee of external governors from other schools.

DewDr0p Wed 27-Feb-13 23:58:29

I'm a governor. Haven't got our policy to hand but I agree it should be available on request and state a fairly short timeframe for responding to a complaint.

It may not be dealt with at a full gov body meeting either. IIRC a sub committee would be formed to deal with it?

prh47bridge Wed 27-Feb-13 23:53:40

Tell the school that you are making a Freedom of Information request for their complaints procedure. Tell them that you will refer the matter to the ICO if necessary.

sittinginthesun Wed 27-Feb-13 22:05:34

No, they can't ignore, but you do have to follow the complaints procedure. This must be available - if not, they will be in breach of this anyway.

I think you should ask the school office for a copy of the complaints procedure first, then write to the chair of governors. They should have a complaints panel - it won't go before the whole board.

Sam100 Wed 27-Feb-13 22:04:04

All complaints ought to be reviewed by the governors but this will probably only happen at a full governing body meeting. These only usually take place once a term so it could take a while between a complaint being sent in and it being discussed. Depending on the nature of the complaint it could be delegated to a committee after that to follow up on.

Governors are unpaid volunteers and not based at the school on a day to day basis. It would be courteous though for the chair of governors to acknowledge your letter and let you know what the process is for dealing with the issues raised.

plumsauce Wed 27-Feb-13 21:57:54

None of their policies are on the website. i found a local schools policy which states that acknowledgement would be given within days and results of an investigation within 10 days so this clearly has not been the case.
The Head rarely speaks to parents and a TA has even said to children that 'he sits in his ivory tower looking down on everybody' so unlikely to get anywhere with him.

LatteLady Wed 27-Feb-13 21:48:26

That is twaddle from the school, if it is a state school then their complaints policy must be available on request, they cannot refuse to give it to you and it should be on the school website.

Once you have your copy then you follow it to the letter but your first course of action and expectation would be to meet with the Head and try to resolve the issue. If this is unsuccessful then you start the formal complaints procedure.

Actually it is unlikely that they will have amended the boilerplate LA policy, so look at other schools close by for their policies which will at least get you started.

plumsauce Wed 27-Feb-13 21:18:03

Sent a letter regarding very valid concerns about some quite serious issues to the Governors almost a month ago and there has not even been an acknowledgement from them.The letter was sent by recorded delivery so I know they have it.
The LA were contacted originally about this and said that it was a matter for the school and to contact the Governors. Their complaints policy is not available without an appointment and permission from the HT and as the complaint relates to him we are unlikely to get this. Any ideas what else we can do?

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