Meeting the school website compliance for Complaints requirements.
Check out Schudio’s guide to the school website requirements here.
It is important to note that ALL schools must meet the school website complaints requirement in full.
In this article, we will attempt to answer your questions and help you meet the requirements.
So let's start by taking a look at what your requirements are.
What are the specific requirements for Complaints on your School Website?
All schools and colleges should publish details about their complaints policy and what the procedure is so that anyone who has an issue knows exactly what to do and expect during the process.
For Maintained Schools
You must publish details of your school’s complaints procedure, which must comply with Section 29 of the Education Act 2002.
For Academies and Colleges
All academies and colleges should publish their complaints policy online
If you’re an academy, free school, FE or sixth-form college, you should also publish your whistleblowing policy online.
For Maintained Schools, Academies and Free Schools
Publish any arrangements for handling complaints from parents of children with special educational needs (SEN) about the support the school provides. Whilst conducting compliance checks we have found that most schools display this within their SEN policy but think about having a paragraph in your actual complaint procedure too.
Let’s begin with exploring what is a complaint?
A complaint is an expression or statement of dissatisfaction with something that has been done or not done in school. It shouldn’t be limited to students, parents or carers of students. Anyone can make a complaint.
Sometimes issues raised can be solved without the need to follow a formal procedure, however, this is not always the case, or the person complaining wants to raise the grievance formally. It is in these instances that you need to follow your complaints procedure.
How do you meet the School Website Complaints Requirements?
All complaints should be dealt with appropriately and in a timely manner making sure to address all the points being raised.
Your procedure should also allow the complaint to complete the procedure in full and you need to advise the complainant of any escalation steps at every stage.
Make sure that your policy reflects what you will do as opposed to what you should or may do. Avoid any ambiguous language as this may lead to further complaints.
The main things to note here are that ALL schools must publish a complaint procedure and that must comply with the Education Act of 2002.
The government has published guidance on how to write your actual complaints procedure and best practice around that.
Also, you should make sure that your complaints procedure is:
- Simple to understand and use
- Enables a full and fair investigation
- Where necessary respects confidentiality
- Addresses all the points at issue and provides an effective response and appropriate redress, where necessary
- Provides information to the school’s senior management team so that services can be improved
Make sure your policy is tailored to fit your school and not just a copied standard template.
Note that it is also a good idea to mention how complaints are handled from parents of children with special educational needs and don’t just leave it to your SEN policy.
Where should I display the complaints requirement?
These requirements are here to ensure this information is easy to find on your website. Why not consider grouping all your policies into categories and including them on a page specifically for policies.
Furthermore, note that all other schools besides maintained schools must also publish a whistleblowing policy.
Examples of Schools meeting the School Website Complaints Requirements
Enquire Learning Trust (and their schools)
This is written consistently across the Multi-Academy Trust and provides a clear pathway for complaints and how they will be handled. That is whether in school or the Trust.
Hill View Primary School
This school has provided a really nice, personal message as an introduction which is a great way to keep conflict from escalating. It is clear and easy to follow.
See Werneth School
This is very nice and clear, easy to follow and includes all the required information, is easy to find and includes a helpful definition of complaints.
If you have any questions about this requirement your first port of call is the School Website Requirements Guide. To go deeper join The School Website Managers Membership where you will get access to all School Website Requirements Course updates and training. Or, drop us a line.