Our Lady Immaculate Catholic Primary School

Approved by the Governing Body : Autumn 2022
Date of next review: Autumn 2024
Who can make a complaint?
This complaints procedure is not limited to parents or carers of children that are registered at the school.
Any person, including members of the public, may make a complaint to Our Lady Immaculate Catholic Pri
mary School about any provision of facilities or services that we provide. Unless complaints are dealt with
under separate statutory procedures (such as appeals relating to exclusions or admissions), we will use this
complaints procedure.
The difference between a concern and a complaint
A concern may be defined as ‘an expression of worry or doubt over an issue considered to be important for
which reassurances are sought’.
A complaint may be defined as ‘an expression of dissatisfaction however made, about actions taken or a lack
of action’.
It is in everyone’s interest that concerns and complaints are resolved at the earliest possible stage. Many is
sues can be resolved informally, without the need to use the formal stages of the complaints procedure. Our
Lady Immaculate Catholic Primary School takes concerns seriously and will make every effort to resolve the
matter as quickly as possible.
If you have difficulty discussing a concern with a particular member of staff, we will respect your views. In
these cases, Mrs Sergeant (Headteacher), will refer you to another staff member. Similarly, if the member of
staff directly involved feels unable to deal with a concern, Mrs Sergeant will refer you to another staff mem
ber. The member of staff may be more senior but does not have to be. The ability to consider the concern
objectively and impartially is more important.
We understand however, that there are occasions when people would like to raise their concerns formally.
In this case, Our Lady Immaculate Catholic Primary School will attempt to resolve the issue internally,
through the stages outlined within this complaints procedure.
How to raise a concern or make a complaint?
A concern or complaint can be made in person, in writing or by telephone. They may also be made by a third
party acting on behalf on a complainant, as long as they have appropriate consent to do so.
Concerns should be raised with either the class teacher or headteacher. If the issue remains unresolved, the
next step is to make a formal complaint.
Complainants should not approach individual governors to raise concerns or complaints. They have no
power to act on an individual basis and it may also prevent them from considering complaints at Stage 2 of
the procedure.
Complaints against school staff (except the headteacher) should be made in the first instance, to Mrs Ser
geant (the headteacher) via the school office. Please mark them as Private and Confidential.
Complaints that involve or are about the headteacher should be addressed to Bishop Thomas Williams (the
Chair of Governors), via the school office. Please mark them as Private and Confidential.
Complaints about the Chair of Governors, any individual governor or the whole governing body should be
addressed to Miss Marion Chute (the Clerk to the Governing Body) via the school office. Please mark them as
Private and Confidential.
For ease of use, a template complaint form is included at the end of this procedure. If you require help in
completing the form, please contact the school office. You can also ask third party organisations like the Citi
zens Advice to help you.
In accordance with equality law, we will consider making reasonable adjustments if required, to enable com
plainants to access and complete this complaints procedure. For instance, providing information in alterna
tive formats, assisting complainants in raising a formal complaint or holding meetings in accessible locations.
Anonymous complaints
We will not normally investigate anonymous complaints. However, the headteacher or Chair of Governors, if
appropriate, will determine whether the complaint warrants an investigation.
Time scales
You must raise the complaint within three months of the incident or, where a series of associated incidents
have occurred, within three months of the last of these incidents. We will consider complaints made outside
of this time frame if exceptional circumstances apply.
Complaints received outside of term time
We will consider complaints made outside of term time to have been received on the first school day after
the holiday period.
Scope of this Complaints Procedure
This procedure covers all complaints about any provision of community facilities or services by Our Lady Im
maculate Catholic Primary School, other than complaints that are dealt with under other statutory proce
dures, including those listed below.
Who to contact
• Admissions to schools
• Statutory assessments of Special
Educational Needs
• School re-organisation proposals
Concerns about admissions, statutory assessments of Special
Educational Needs, or school re-organisation proposals
should be raised with Liverpool Local Authority
• Matters likely to require a Child
Protection Investigation
Complaints about child protection matters are handled under
our child protection and safeguarding policy and in accord
ance with relevant statutory guidance.
• Exclusion of children from
If you have serious concerns, you may wish to contact the lo
cal authority designated officer (LADO) who has local respon
sibility for safeguarding or the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub
Further information about raising concerns about exclusion
can be found at: www.gov.uk/school-discipline-exclusions/ex
*complaints about the application of the behaviour policy can


be made through the school’s complaints procedure. The
school behaviour policy can be found on our website at
• Whistleblowing We have an internal whistleblowing procedure for all our em
ployees, including temporary staff and contractors.
The Secretary of State for Education is the prescribed person
for matters relating to education for whistleblowers in educa
tion who do not want to raise matters direct with their em
ployer. Referrals can be made at: www.education.gov.uk/con
Volunteer staff who have concerns about our school should
complain through the school’s complaints procedure. You
may also be able to complain direct to the LA or the Depart
ment for Education (see link above), depending on the sub
stance of your complaint.
• Staff grievances Complaints from staff will be dealt with under the school’s in
ternal grievance procedures.
• Staff conduct Complaints about staff will be dealt with under the school’s
internal disciplinary procedures, if appropriate.
Complainants will not be informed of any disciplinary action
taken against a staff member as a result of a complaint. How
ever, the complainant will be notified that the matter is being
• Complaints about services pro
vided by other providers who
may use school premises or facili
Providers should have their own complaints procedure to deal
with complaints about service. Please contact them direct.
• National Curriculum – content Please contact the Department for Education at:

If other bodies are investigating aspects of the complaint, for example the police, local authority (LA) safe
guarding teams or Tribunals, this may impact on our ability to adhere to the timescales within this procedure
or result in the procedure being suspended until those public bodies have completed their investigations.
If a complainant commences legal action against Our Lady Immaculate Catholic Primary School in relation to
their complaint, we will consider whether to suspend the complaints procedure in relation to their complaint
until those legal proceedings have concluded.
Resolving complaints
At each stage in the procedure, Our Lady Immaculate Catholic Primary School wants to resolve the com
plaint. If appropriate, we will acknowledge that the complaint is upheld in whole or in part. In addition, we
may offer one or more of the following:
• an explanation
• an admission that the situation could have been handled differently or better
• an assurance that we will try to ensure the event complained of will not recur
• an explanation of the steps that have been or will be taken to help ensure that it will not happen again
and an indication of the timescales within which any changes will be made
• an undertaking to review school policies in light of the complaint
• an apology.
Withdrawal of a Complaint
If a complainant wants to withdraw their complaint, we will ask them to confirm this in writing.
Stage 1
Formal complaints must be made to the headteacher (unless they are about the headteacher), via the school
office. This may be done in person, in writing (preferably on the Complaint Form), or by telephone.
The headteacher will record the date the complaint is received and will acknowledge receipt of the com
plaint in writing (either by letter or email) within 10 school days.
Within this response, the headteacher will seek to clarify the nature of the complaint, ask what remains un
resolved and what outcome the complainant would like to see. The headteacher can consider whether a
face to face meeting is the most appropriate way of doing this.
Note: The headteacher may delegate the investigation to another member of the school’s senior leadership
team but not the decision to be taken.
During the investigation, the headteacher (or investigator) will:
• if necessary, interview those involved in the matter and/or those complained of, allowing them to be
accompanied if they wish
• keep a written record of any meetings/interviews in relation to their investigation.
At the conclusion of their investigation, the headteacher will provide a formal written response within <in
sert number> school days of the date of receipt of the complaint.
If the headteacher is unable to meet this deadline, they will provide the complainant with an update and re
vised response date.
The response will detail any actions taken to investigate the complaint and provide a full explanation of the
decision made and the reason(s) for it. Where appropriate, it will include details of actions Our Lady Immacu
late Catholic Primary School will take to resolve the complaint.
The headteacher will advise the complainant of how to escalate their complaint should they remain dissatis
fied with the outcome of Stage 1.
If the complaint is about the headteacher, or a member of the governing body (including the Chair or Vice
Chair), a suitably skilled governor will be appointed to complete all the actions at Stage 1.
Complaints about the headteacher or member of the governing body must be made to the Clerk, via the
school office.
If the complaint is:
• jointly about the Chair and Vice Chair or
• the entire governing body or
• the majority of the governing body
Stage 1 will be considered by an independent investigator appointed by the governing body or Liverpool
Archdiocese. At the conclusion of their investigation, the independent investigator will provide a formal writ
ten response.
Stage 2
If the complainant is dissatisfied with the outcome at Stage 1 and wishes to take the matter further, they can
escalate the complaint to Stage 2 – a meeting with members of the governing body’s complaints committee,
which will be formed of the first three, impartial, governors available. This is the final stage of the complaints
A request to escalate to Stage 2 must be made to the Clerk, via the school office, within 10 school days of
receipt of the Stage 1 response.
The Clerk will record the date the complaint is received and acknowledge receipt of the complaint in writing
(either by letter or email) within 10 school days.
Requests received outside of this time frame will only be considered if exceptional circumstances apply.
The Clerk will write to the complainant to inform them of the date of the meeting. They will aim to convene
a meeting within 30 school days of receipt of the Stage 2 request. If this is not possible, the Clerk will provide
an anticipated date and keep the complainant informed.
If the complainant rejects the offer of three proposed dates, without good reason, the Clerk will decide
when to hold the meeting. It will then proceed in the complainant’s absence on the basis of written submis
sions from both parties.
The complaints committee will consist of at least three governors with no prior involvement or knowledge of
the complaint. Prior to the meeting, they will decide amongst themselves who will act as the Chair of the
Complaints Committee. If there are fewer than three governors from Our Lady Immaculate Catholic Primary
School available, the Clerk will source any additional, independent governors through another local school or
through their LA’s Governor Services team, in order to make up the committee. Alternatively, an entirely in
dependent committee may be convened to hear the complaint at Stage 2.
The committee will decide whether to deal with the complaint by inviting parties to a meeting or through
written representations, but in making their decision they will be sensitive to the complainant’s needs.
If the complainant is invited to attend the meeting, they may bring someone along to provide support. This
can be a relative or friend. Generally, we do not encourage either party to bring legal representatives to the
committee meeting. However, there may be occasions when legal representation is appropriate.
For instance, if a school employee is called as a witness in a complaint meeting, they may wish to be sup
ported by union and/or legal representation.
Note: Complaints about staff conduct will not generally be handled under this complaints procedure. Com
plainants will be advised that any staff conduct complaints will be considered under staff disciplinary proce
dures, if appropriate, but outcomes will not be shared with them.
Representatives from the media are not permitted to attend.
At least 10 school days before the meeting, the Clerk will:
• confirm and notify the complainant of the date, time and venue of the meeting, ensuring that, if the
complainant is invited, the dates are convenient to all parties and that the venue and proceedings are
• request copies of any further written material to be submitted to the committee at least 5 school days
before the meeting.
Any written material will be circulated to all parties at least 5 school days before the date of the meeting.
The committee will not normally accept, as evidence, recordings of conversations that were obtained cov
ertly and without the informed consent of all parties being recorded.
The committee will also not review any new complaints at this stage or consider evidence unrelated to the
initial complaint to be included. New complaints must be dealt with from Stage 1 of the procedure.
The meeting will be held in private. Electronic recordings of meetings or conversations are not normally per
mitted unless a complainant’s own disability or special needs require it. Prior knowledge and consent of all
parties attending must be sought before meetings or conversations take place. Consent will be recorded in
any minutes 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 is
sues in the future.
The Chair of the Committee will provide the complainant and Our Lady Immaculate Catholic Primary School
with a full explanation of their decision and the reason(s) for it, in writing, within 10 school days.
The letter to the complainant will include details of how to contact the Department for Education if they are
dissatisfied with the way their complaint has been handled by Our Lady Immaculate Catholic Primary School.
If the complaint is:
• jointly about the Chair and Vice Chair or
• the entire governing body or
• the majority of the governing body
Stage 2 will be heard by a committee of independent governors.
The response will detail any actions taken to investigate the complaint and provide a full explanation of the
decision made and the reason(s) for it. Where appropriate, it will include details of actions Our Lady Immacu
late Catholic Primary School will take to resolve the complaint.
The response will also advise the complainant of how to escalate their complaint should they remain dissat
Next Steps
If the complainant believes the school did not handle their complaint in accordance with the published com
plaints procedure or they acted unlawfully or unreasonably in the exercise of their duties under education
law, they can contact the Department for Education after they have completed Stage 2.
The Department for Education will not normally reinvestigate the substance of complaints or overturn any
decisions made by Our Lady Immaculate Catholic Primary School. They will consider whether Our Lady Im
maculate Catholic Primary School has adhered to education legislation and any statutory policies connected
with the complaint.
The complainant can refer their complaint to the Department for Education online at: www.educa
tion.gov.uk/contactus, by telephone on: 0370 000 2288 or by writing to:
Department for Education
Piccadilly Gate
Store Street
M1 2WD.


Complaint Form
Please complete and return to Headteacher or Clerk to the Governors, who will acknowledge receipt and ex
plain what action will be taken.
Your name:
Pupil’s name (if relevant):

Your relationship to the pupil (if relevant):

Day time telephone number:
Evening telephone number:
Please give details of your complaint, including whether you have spoken to anybody at the school
about it.


What actions do you feel might resolve the problem at this stage?

Are you attaching any paperwork? If so, please give details.


Official use
Date acknowledgement sent:

By who:

Complaint referred to:


Roles and Responsibilities
The complainant will receive a more effective response to the complaint if they:
• explain the complaint in full as early as possible
• co-operate with the school in seeking a solution to the complaint
• respond promptly to requests for information or meetings or in agreeing the details of the complaint
• ask for assistance as needed
• treat all those involved in the complaint with respect
• refrain from publicising the details of their complaint on social media and respect confidentiality.
The investigator’s role is to establish the facts relevant to the complaint by:
• providing a comprehensive, open, transparent and fair consideration of the complaint through:
o sensitive and thorough interviewing of the complainant to establish what has happened and who
has been involved
o interviewing staff and children/young people and other people relevant to the complaint
o consideration of records and other relevant information
o analysing information
• liaising with the complainant and the complaints co-ordinator as appropriate to clarify what the com
plainant feels would put things right.
The investigator should:
• conduct interviews with an open mind and be prepared to persist in the questioning
• keep notes of interviews or arrange for an independent note taker to record minutes of the meeting
• ensure that any papers produced during the investigation are kept securely pending any appeal
• be mindful of the timescales to respond
• prepare a comprehensive report for the headteacher or complaints committee that sets out the facts,
identifies solutions and recommends courses of action to resolve problems.
The headteacher or complaints committee will then determine whether to uphold or dismiss the com
plaint and communicate that decision to the complainant, providing the appropriate escalation de
Complaints Co-ordinator (this could be the headteacher / designated complaints governor or other staff
member providing administrative support)
The complaints co-ordinator should:
• ensure that the complainant is fully updated at each stage of the procedure
• liaise with staff members, headteacher, Chair of Governors, Clerk and LAs (if appropriate) to ensure
the smooth running of the complaints procedure
• be aware of issues regarding:
o sharing third party information
o additional support. This may be needed by complainants when making a complaint including inter
pretation support or where the complainant is a child or young person
• keep records.
Clerk to the Governing Body
The Clerk is the contact point for the complainant and the committee and should:
• ensure that all people involved in the complaint procedure are aware of their legal rights and duties,
including any under legislation relating to school complaints, education law, the Equality Act 2010, the
Freedom of Information Act 2000, the Data Protection Act (DPA) 2018 and the General Data Protec
tion Regulations (GDPR)
• set the date, time and venue of the meeting, ensuring that the dates are convenient to all parties (if
they are invited to attend) and that the venue and proceedings are accessible
• collate any written material relevant to the complaint (for example; stage 1 paperwork, school and
complainant submissions) and send it to the parties in advance of the meeting within an agreed time
• record the proceedings
• circulate the minutes of the meeting
• notify all parties of the committee’s decision.
Committee Chair
The committee’s chair, who is nominated in advance of the complaint meeting, should ensure that:
• both parties are asked (via the Clerk) to provide any additional information relating to the complaint
by a specified date in advance of the meeting
• the meeting is conducted in an informal manner, is not adversarial, and that, if all parties are invited
to attend, everyone is treated with respect and courtesy
• complainants who may not be used to speaking at such a meeting are put at ease. This is particularly
important if the complainant is a child/young person
• the remit of the committee is explained to the complainant
• written material is seen by everyone in attendance, provided it does not breach confidentiality or any
individual’s rights to privacy under the DPA 2018 or GDPR.
If a new issue arises it would be useful to give everyone the opportunity to consider and comment
upon it; this may require a short adjournment of the meeting
• both the complainant and the school are given the opportunity to make their case and seek clarity,
either through written submissions ahead of the meeting or verbally in the meeting itself
• the issues are addressed
• key findings of fact are made
• the committee is open-minded and acts independently
• no member of the committee has an external interest in the outcome of the proceedings or any in
volvement in an earlier stage of the procedure
• the meeting is minuted
• they liaise with the Clerk (and complaints co-ordinator, if the school has one).
Committee Member
Committee members should be aware that:
• the meeting must be independent and impartial, and should be seen to be so
No governor may sit on the committee if they have had a prior involvement in the complaint or in the
circumstances surrounding it.
• the aim of the meeting should be to resolve the complaint and achieve reconciliation between the
school and the complainant
We recognise that the complainant might not be satisfied with the outcome if the meeting does not
find in their favour. It may only be possible to establish the facts and make recommendations.
• many complainants will feel nervous and inhibited in a formal setting
Parents/carers often feel emotional when discussing an issue that affects their child.
• extra care needs to be taken when the complainant is a child/young person and present during all or
part of the meeting
Careful consideration of the atmosphere and proceedings should ensure that the child/young person
does not feel intimidated.
The committee should respect the views of the child/young person and give them equal consideration
to those of adults.
If the child/young person is the complainant, the committee should ask in advance if any support is
needed to help them present their complaint. Where the child/young person’s parent is the complain
ant, the committee should give the parent the opportunity to say which parts of the meeting, if any,
the child/young person needs to attend.
However, the parent should be advised that agreement might not always be possible if the parent
wishes the child/young person to attend a part of the meeting that the committee considers is not in
the child/young person’s best interests.
• the welfare of the child/young person is paramount.