Stage 1 – Informal Resolution
We encourage an informal resolution of complaints wherever possible. It is in everyone’s interest that complaints are resolved to the satisfaction of all parties at the earliest possible stage. At each stage of the complaint’s procedure, the designated member of staff will consider the complaint, how the complaint may be addressed, and may offer:
- An explanation.
- An apology.
- Reassurance that steps have been taken to prevent a recurrence of events that led to the complaint.
- Reassurance that the School will undertake a review of its policies and procedures considering the complaint.
Where informal attempts have taken place and a complainant is dissatisfied with the outcome or where the complainant raises a formal complaint in writing from the outset, formal procedures will be followed (see Stage 2). If a parent wishes to make a complaint about a Senior Teacher, then the Course Director should be contacted since they will handle complaints about Senior Teachers.
The member of staff receiving the complaint will make a written record of all concerns and the date on which they were received. All staff dealing with complaints will make sure that the Director’s office receives a record of any concerns raised by students.
Should the matter not be resolved within 10 days, or if the designated member of staff dealing with the complaint and the parent fail to reach a satisfactory resolution, then parents will be advised to proceed with their complaint in accordance with stage 2 of this Procedure.
It should be noted that complaints at this stage can be in writing and that a written complaint does not automatically constitute a formal complaint. An informal complaint can take the form of an email or letter, phone call or face-to-face conversation.
Stage 2 – Formal Resolution
If the complaint cannot be resolved on an informal basis, then the parents should put their complaint in writing to the Course Director. The Course Director will decide, after considering the complaint, the appropriate course of action to take.
In most cases, the Course Director will meet with or speak to the parents concerned, normally within 10 days of receiving the complaint, to discuss the matter. If possible, a resolution will be reached at this stage. It may be necessary for the Course Director to carry out further investigations.
The Course Director will keep written records of all meetings and interviews held in relation to the complaint. Once the Course Director is satisfied that, so far as is practicable, all of the relevant facts have been established, a decision will be made, and parents will be informed of this decision in writing. The Course Director will also give reasons for his decision.
If parents are still not satisfied with the decision, they should proceed to Stage 3 of this Procedure.
Stage 3 – Panel Hearing
If parents seek to invoke Stage 3 (following a failure to reach an earlier resolution), they will be referred to The Chairman of the Board of Trustees, who has been appointed by the Trustees to call hearings of the Complaints Panel.
The matter will then be referred to the Complaints Panel for consideration. The Panel will consist of at least three persons not directly involved in the matters detailed in the complaint, one of whom shall be independent of the management and running of the school. Each of the Panel members shall be appointed by The Chairman of the Board of Trustees. The Chairman, on behalf of the Panel, will then acknowledge the complaint and schedule a hearing to take place as soon as practicable and normally within 20 days.
If the Panel deems it necessary, it may require that further particulars of the complaint or any related matter be supplied in advance of the hearing. Copies of such particulars shall be supplied to all parties not later than 5 days prior to the hearing.
The parents may be accompanied to the hearing by one other person. This may be a relative, teacher, friend or representative.
If possible, the Panel will resolve the parents’ complaint immediately without the need for further investigation.
Where further investigation is required, the Panel will decide how it should be carried out. After due consideration of all facts they consider relevant, the Panel will reach a decision and may make recommendations, which it shall complete within 10 days of the Hearing. The Panel will write to the parents informing them of its decision and the reasons for it. The decision of the Panel will be final. The Panel’s findings and, if any, recommendations will be sent in writing to the parents, the Course Director, the Trustees and, where relevant, the person complained of.
If Parents are still not happy with the outcome, they can contact the British Council.
Procedure – Students
Student views will be taken seriously and students should feel that they are able to make a complaint without fear of any reprisal. Students have the right to group together to make a complaint and they may be accompanied to any meeting regarding their complaint.
Students can raise concerns with members of staff, such as their Teacher, Boarding Parent, Director of Studies or Safeguarding Manager. In addition, students can make a complaint in the following manner:
Most complaints can be raised informally with a Boarding Parent, Teacher, Assistant Director of Studies, Assistant Course Director or Course Director. Students should expect any complaint that they make to be taken seriously and given due consideration. Any member of staff approached with such a complaint should endeavour to resolve the difficulty and feed-back to the student concerned within a reasonable time. It is hoped that most, if not all complaints can be dealt with in this way.
All complaints will be recorded and staff dealing with complaints will make sure that the Course Director’s office receives a record of any concerns raised by students and that the Safeguarding Manager is also informed.
If a student wishes to make a complaint about a Teacher, then the student should be referred to the Director of Studies since they will handle complaints about Teachers.
If the issue is of a very serious nature or if the student feels that an informal complaint has not resolved the issue to their satisfaction, then a formal complaint should normally be made to the Director of Studies or Assistant Course Director. It might well be that the Course Director will also become involved in handling the complaint.
This formal complaint can be made in person or in writing or by completing the online Complaints Form. The Course Director, or another Senior Teacher, will then investigate the matter fully, gathering evidence from appropriate sources and keeping a full written record, before coming to a judgement and putting into place any necessary remedial action. The student making the complaint will be informed of the judgement. Once again, every effort will be made to deal with any issue raised in this way within a reasonable time.
If the above procedure has been followed and the student feels that their complaint has not been dealt with effectively, they may then choose to ask their parents to make a complaint following the parent’s procedure. Within this procedure, parents have the right to appeal to the Trustees against any decision made by the Course Director.
Following resolution of a complaint, the College will keep a written record of all complaints and whether they are resolved at the informal stage or proceed to a panel hearing. At the College’s discretion additional records may be kept which may contain the following information:
- Date when the issue was raised.
- Name of parent.
- Name of student.
- Description of the issue.
- Records of all the investigations (if appropriate).
- Witness statements (if appropriate).
- Name of member of staff handling the issue at each stage.
- Copies of all correspondence on the issue (including emails and records of phone conversations).
Adapted from Concord College Main Term Policy Section 11.5 & 11.5.1
|Document Owner||Summer School|
|Reviewed in||June 2021|
|Next review||June 2022|
|Publication||Portal & Website|