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Complaints Procedure

Summary of the Complaints Procedure for Cotwall End Primary School

The 2002 Education Act requires governing bodies of schools to have a procedure for complaints about the school and for them to be available for everyone to see. This is a summary of the complaints procedure for Cotwall End Primary School. You should also look at the full procedure to ensure that you understand all the details.


Most issues raised by parents, carers or other people are concerns rather than complaints.  A concern means you have a worry or doubt over something that you think is important and you would like reassurances about it. The best way to resolve your concerns is to approach a school in the first instance.


A complaint means that you want to express dissatisfaction about an action the school has taken or a lack of action. Many issues can be resolved informally, without the need to use the formal stages of the complaints procedure. Cotwall End Primary School takes complaints seriously and will make every effort to resolve the matter as quickly as possible.

How to make a complaint

A concern or complaint can be made in person, in writing (by letter or email) or by telephone. Concerns should be raised with either the class teacher or headteacher. If, once you have done this, you are still not happy, the next step is to make a formal complaint.  You must raise the complaint within three months of the incident or, if it is a series of similar incidents, within three months of the last of the incidents.

Most complaints (except when it is about the headteacher) should be made in the first instance, to the headteacher via the school office. Complaints that involve, or are about, the headteacher should be addressed to the Chair of Governors, via the school office. Complaints about the Chair of Governors or any other governors should be addressed to school’s complaints administrator via the school office. Please mark any complaint as Private and Confidential. The full complaints procedure contains a form you can use to record your complaint.

Complaints made outside of term time will only be looked at on the first school day after the holiday. If a complaint is already going through the procedure and this is interrupted by a school holiday, the procedure will pause until the holiday has ended.  There is a list of timescales in the full complaints procedure document if you need to check them.

The Formal Stages of the Complaints Procedure

Cotwall End Primary School has a clear procedure for receiving enquiries, concerns and complaints, so that they are directed to the right people and can  be dealt with efficiently.  There are two stages to the formal complaints procedure. If your complaint is about the headteacher or governors, please refer to the full complaints procedure for details of what to do.

Stage 1

This must be made to the headteacher via the school office.  The headteacher will seek to clarify the details of the complaint and might want to contact you to ask what you feel needs to be done and what outcome you would like to see.

During the investigation, the headteacher will, if necessary, interview those involved to come to a decision. At the end of their investigation, the headteacher will write a formal response and send it to you.

Stage 2

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of Stage 1, and can clearly explain why, you can ask for the complaint to be heard at Stage 2 – a meeting with members of the governing board’s complaints committee.  This is the final stage of the complaints procedure. A request to move to Stage 2 must be made to the school’s complaints administrator, via the school office, within 10 school days of you receiving the Stage 1 response.

The complaints committee will consist of at least three governors with no prior involvement or knowledge of the complaint. They will not be members of staff at the school and will probably not be parents.

The committee will decide whether to deal with the complaint by inviting those involved to a meeting or by looking through written evidence on its own. Their decision about that should be sensitive to your needs and wishes.

If you are invited to attend the meeting, you can bring someone along for support. This can be a relative or friend who should act in a supportive role as described in the roles and responsibilities section (Appendix 3)  of the full procedure .

All written material will be circulated to everyone involved at least 3 school days before the date of the meeting.  The meeting will then be held in private and minutes will be taken.

The committee will consider the complaint and all the evidence presented. The committee can:

·                  uphold the complaint in whole or in part

·                  dismiss the complaint in whole or in part.

If the complaint is upheld in whole or in part, the committee will:

·                  decide on the appropriate action to be taken to resolve the complaint

·                  where appropriate, recommend changes to the school’s systems or procedures to prevent similar issues in the future.

The Chair of the Committee will provide you and Cotwall End Primary School with a full explanation of their decision and the reason(s) for it, in writing.

If, at the completion of stage 2,  you believe the school did not handle your complaint in accordance with the published complaints procedure or they acted unlawfully or unreasonably, you can contact the Department for Education.   You must not do this before the end of Stage 2 because the Department for Education will require you to go back and follow the school’s complaints procedure until it is complete.

The Department for Education will not normally reinvestigate a complaint or overturn any decision made by Cotwall End Primary School. They will consider whether Cotwall End Primary School has followed education legislation correctly and any policies connected to the complaint.

You can refer a  complaint to the Department for Education online at:, by telephone on: 0370 000 2288 or by writing to: Department for Education, Piccadilly Gate, Store Street, Manchester, M1 2WD


The full version of the school’s complaints procedure can be found at

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