BOS is committed to providing the very best education and school experience to students across all our schools. We welcome any feedback as an important part of continuous improvement and accept that this will not always be positive.
When concerns are raised, they will be dealt with promptly through a fair, transparent process and without prejudice.
The following policy explains how to raise a concern or make a complaint and what process BOS staff will follow to resolve the matter as quickly as possible. We ask for all involved in the process to act in good faith with a focus on resolution.
Wherever a complaint indicates that a child’s safety or well-being is at imminent risk, BOS has a duty to report this immediately to the relevant authority. Any action taken will follow the Safeguarding Policy, available on the school’s website by clicking here.
2. Raising concerns
Most concerns can be dealt with outside of the formal complaints process and should be raised by phone, email or messaging the relevant member of staff. The best person to speak to initially will be the member of staff who will have the best understanding of the situation and can best answer your queries, for example:
- A concern regarding homework for a particular subject could be raised with the concerned teacher
- A parent’s concern about their child’s friendship with another child in their class could be raised with the concerned teacher or a member of the learning support team.
- A concern about a member of staff could be raised with the Principal or Vice Principal
Wherever possible, informal concerns will be responded to quickly and resolved amicably. Ideally, your concern will be addressed within two school days, or a meeting may be arranged with you to discuss the issue. Where a complaint is raised to a teacher please be mindful of their availability and reasonable in your expectation of response times, particularly to concerns received by email.
3. Procedure and timeframes
Wherever possible, please raise initial concerns with the relevant member of staff as detailed in section 2 of this policy. If you are not satisfied with the response and believe the issue has not been resolved, please follow the procedure below.
For the majority of complaints, BOS will follow the timescales in this policy. However, in complex cases, more time may be needed to conduct a full and fair investigation. In this instance, extended timescales will be confirmed at the earliest possible opportunity.
BOS reserves the right not to investigate complaints that have been made more than three months after the subject of the complaint took place unless in exceptional circumstances; for example: where new evidence has come to light; if the complaint is about an especially serious matter or where there is reasonable justification for why the complainant couldn’t raise the matter sooner. The Principal will make the decision on whether or not to invoke the complaints procedure in this instance.
4. Complaints and data protection of others
Where a complaint involves another party, such as another student or parent, we are not able to share personal information about them with the complainant. This is to comply with data protection legislation. Personal information may include, but is not limited to:
- support or sanctions given to another student
- private information about an individual or family
- details of conversations or meetings between staff and the other party
5. Raising complaints
Complaints will usually be handled in the order and procedure outlined below.
The first point of contact for making a complaint is the school’s main email address (contact@boshomeschooling) or the complaints’ email (firstname.lastname@example.org) who can forward your complaint to the relevant party.
At each stage of the process, the complainant should clarify what their complaint is regarding and what outcomes would resolve the matter for them. Complainants are not able to change the subject of their complaint or add new, unrelated concerns throughout the process. New concerns should be raised as a separate complaint.
If an initial concern has been raised and the complainant feels the issue has not been addressed or if the school decides the initial concern warrants a more detailed investigation, an investigation will be conducted following the below process:
The complainant contacts the main school email address (email@example.com) to request their concern be investigated.
The complainant should confirm:
– A summary of the complaint
– Who has been involved
– Anything that has already been done to resolve the matter and why this is not satisfactory
– Any evidence they have to support their complaint
– What is needed to resolve the complaint (e.g. an explanation/apology/further action)
Within two school* days, a response will be given to acknowledge receipt of the complaint, confirm who the complaint has been forwarded to for investigation and the timescales for a response.
The Vice Principal may conduct the investigation themselves or instruct an appropriate member of their team to conduct the investigation. The outcome(s) of the investigation will be provided to the complainant in writing within ten school days of confirming an investigation will be undertaken.
If the complainant is not satisfied with the outcome they may request the complaint to be escalated to the Principal by submitting a formal complaint to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written records of the complaint and investigation will be held at the school for twelve months, in line with the principles of the Data Protection Act 2018.
*A school day does not include weekends, bank holidays or periods of time when the school is closed for school holidays.
6. Serial, Unreasonable and Duplicate Complaints
1. Serial Complaints
Where a complainant raises an issue that has already been dealt with via the complaints process in this policy, and the procedure has been completed, the issue will not be reinvestigated unless in exceptional circumstances, such as where new and relevant evidence has been provided.
If a complainant persists in raising the same, or substantially similar, issue, the Vice Principal will confirm in writing that their complaint has been dealt with fully in line with this policy and the case is now closed. They will also provide details of how to raise the issue with the Principal if they wish to take the matter further.
2. Unreasonable Complaints
The Principal/Vice Principal will use their discretion to choose not to investigate a complaint or cease investigating an existing complaint which is deemed to be unreasonable or persistent. Where this decision has been made, they will inform the complainant of this decision, explaining the nature of the complaint and their reasons for choosing not to investigate.
Unreasonable complaints include, but are not limited to, the following scenarios:
– the complainant refuses to cooperate with the school’s relevant procedures
– the complainant changes the basis of their complaint as the investigation progresses
– the complainant seeks an unrealistic or unreasonable outcome
– excessive demands are being made of the time of staff which are clearly intended to aggravate and/or cause disruption
– the complainant acts in a way that is offensive, abusive or discriminatory
3. ‘Frivolous’ and ‘Vexatious’ Complaints
In cases where the school has taken every reasonable step to address a complainant’s concerns and given a clear statement of the position and/or options, the decision may be taken that no further response will be made to the complainant.
The characteristics of a ‘frivolous’ or ‘vexatious’ complaint are:
– complaints which are obsessive, persistent, harassing, prolific, repetitious
– insistence upon pursuing unmeritorious complaints and/or unrealistic outcomes
– insistence upon pursuing meritorious complaints in an unreasonable manner
– complaints which are designed to cause disruption or annoyance
– demands for redress that lack any serious purpose or value
4. Duplicate Complaints
When a complaint has been through the full complaints process and is closed, any subsequent complaint received from a spouse, partner, grandparent or child (where the child is a subject in the complaint) about the same subject matter will be deemed a duplicate complaint.
In this instance, the complainant will be informed that the matter has already been considered and the full complaint process completed. BOS will therefore not re-investigate the matter.
Before deciding that a complaint will be treated as a ‘duplicate’, BOS will take care to ensure there are no new aspects to the complaint that have not previously been considered. Any new aspect identified will be investigated through the full complaint process as a new complaint.