KŌWHAI SPECIAL SCHOOL
CONCERNS AND COMPLAINTS POLICY
When concerns (verbal) and complaints (written) are dealt with through an agreed process a positive resolution is more likely to be achieved.
To provide staff, whānau and the wider school community with clear guidelines for raising and resolving concerns and complaints.
GUIDELINES FOR CONCERNS
1. Pupils who have concerns should in the first instance take these to their class teacher.
2. Staff who have a particular concern should, as soon as possible, attempt to resolve this directly with the staff member involved and request a time to discuss the concern if the person involved is unable to talk straight away. If it is not appropriate to talk directly to the staff member involved, they should talk to the Team Leader or a member of the Leadership Team.
3. Parents who have concerns should take these to the class teacher of their child. If a satisfactory resolution is not achieved then the matter should be discussed with the Team Leader where the child is based.
4. For concerns about another parent or caregiver, contact the Principal directly.
5. When a concern has not been able to be resolved between a parent / caregiver/ staff members, the matter should be referred to the Team Leader and then, if still not resolved, the Principal. The Principal will then discuss the matter with the parties concerned, with the intention of reaching a resolution.
6. If a concern relates to the Principal and has not been first resolved by discussion, or if someone feels uncomfortable directly approaching the Principal, they can contact the Board’s presiding member.
7. If your concern is about a Board member, please contact the Board’s presiding member.
If this process does not resolve your concern, you may wish to make a formal complaint.
GUIDELINES FOR FORMAL COMPLAINTS
Formal complaints or serious allegations must be made in writing.
All parties will respect confidentiality, including avoiding the use of social media to promote a point of view.
When making a formal complaint, details should be given based on facts, be clear about the people involved, the date of events and include what steps have been taken to try and resolve the matter.
The letter should be sent to the Principal if the complaint relates to a staff member, student or parent/caregiver. If related to the Principal, the complaint should be sent to the Presiding Member of the Board, or if about the Presiding Member, sent to another Board Member. Contact details are available at the school office.
1. Receipt of written complaints will be acknowledged in writing within three working days. The Presiding Member of the Board will be notified.
2. The Principal/Presiding Member of the Board will undertake a preliminary assessment of the complaint.
● More general complaints or those which are unlikely to lead to disciplinary action against a staff member will be resolved informally.
● Potentially sensitive matters or more serious complaints which could lead to disciplinary action against a staff member may be referred to the Board for consideration in-committee, with a view to determining the required level of Board or Presiding Member involvement. In this case, advice from NZSTA will be sought.
The Presiding Member:
● Ensure the Concerns and Complaints process is followed.
● Verify with the Principal that any staff (or others) identified in the complaint are aware of the situation and that there have been attempts to reconcile.
● Ensure the Principal has notified the school insurance broker
● Acknowledge the letter of complaint within 7 days and advise the board process, or redirect the complainant to the Principal, Team Leader or staff member as appropriate.
● Inform the Board. Any member who has a conflict of interest shall take no further part in the process.
● Request a full report from the Principal outlining all actions taken, advice received, meetings held and decisions made. The Board will determine if the report fully satisfies it of a full and fair process. If so, the Presiding Member will notify the complainant. If not satisfied, the Board will meet and discuss in-committee whether or not to meet the complainant and delegate responsibility to members of the board as deemed appropriate. The Board delegates meet with the complainant to discuss the complaint in full; clarifying, investigating and verifying. Support persons will be confirmed by the Board delegates as welcome to attend the meeting. The Board delegates report back to the full Board with actions/decisions to consider. In-committee minutes are recorded.
● Advise the complainant in writing of its provisional decisions and factors considered in reaching them, within 21 days of complaint receipt, unless otherwise agreed by all parties. Complainant is given opportunity to comment before the Board’s final decision is reached and given.
3. A full record of formal complaints and resulting process will be kept and securely stored.
4. Kōwhai Special School is party to the relevant awards, and these identify clear procedures for dealing with formal complaints. School management will be cognizant of the terms and conditions of relevant Collective Employment Agreement. Advice will be sought from NZSTA.
5.In applying formal complaint procedures or attempting to resolve a dispute, the Principal/ Board must:
● Adequately inform employees of allegations
● Give adequate time for response to allegations
● Approach enquiries with an open mind
● Give matters due consideration
● Ensure there is no predetermination of disciplinary action before a fair investigation has been completed
● Avoid bias
● Consider the particular facts in each case
● Ensure the person being complained about is supported (e.g. Union or independent advice).
Concerns and complaints are best dealt with at an early stage and before issues reach serious proportions. Discussion will resolve almost all concerns.
This policy will be reviewed in 2022