Complaints

Policy and procedures

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Introduction

Christ Church Grammar School welcomes your suggestions and feedback. All complaints will be treated as constructive suggestions and will be used to improve processes and standards.

The School is committed to ensuring the safety, welfare and well-being of all children and people at the School. We want children to be safe, happy and empowered. We have zero tolerance of child abuse, and all allegations and safety concerns will be treated very seriously and with consistency. We will always give priority to any complaints involving the safety, welfare and well-being of students.

This policy deals mainly with procedures for parents, guardians and students. These guidelines do not cover complaints from staff members about aspects of their work.

Information for students

Any Problems, Complaints or Suggestions?

If so, the School would like to hear.

How do I make a complaint?

  • By talking about it – or by writing it down if you find that easier.
  • You can do it by yourself, or as part of a group, or through your parents.

 To whom?

  • We recommend you discuss the issue with your tutor (Senior School), classroom teacher (Preparatory School) or Year Group Coordinator (Boarding Community) or you may also speak with a staff member you feel more comfortable with.

 Does it matter what the issue is?

  • No, it can be a big problem or a small one. Talking things over can often help to find solutions.

What will happen next?

  • If possible, the staff member to whom you have made the complaint will deal with it in person. If not, he or she will go on your behalf to someone who can help.

Do others have to know?

  • The teacher or the person you talk to will not talk to anyone else about your issue unless they have to, for your safety and wellbeing. If you are worried about confidentiality, tell the staff member – they will understand.

Even if you find the issue hurtful or embarrassing, dont worry – it will only be discussed by staff, who can help you.

For full details of the School’s Complaint policy, please refer to the information contained further within this document.

Information for parents

Christ Church Grammar School welcomes suggestions and comments from parents/guardians and takes seriously complaints and concerns that may be raised.

All complaints are taken seriously and will be responded to. The vast majority of complaints can be quickly and effectively resolved.

“How should I complain?”

Members of staff will be happy to help.  We recommend parents contact the person who knows their son the best i.e, his tutor (Senior School), classroom teacher (Preparatory School) or Year Group Coordinator (Boarding Community).  They may be able to sort things out quickly, with the minimum of fuss. If the matter is about your son’s tutor, classroom teacher or Year Group Coordinator, please contact your son’s Head of House (Senior School), the Deputy Head of Preparatory School or Director of Boarding.

“I don’t want to complain as such, but there is something bothering me”

The school is here for you and your child, and we want to hear your views and your ideas.  Contact a member of staff, as described above.

“I am not sure whether to complain or not”

If as parents you have concerns, you are entitled to raise them.  If in doubt, you should the contact the school, as we are here to help.

“What will happen next?”

If you raise something face-to-face or by telephone, it may be possible to resolve the matter immediately and to your satisfaction.

If you have made a complaint or suggestion in writing, we will contact you within five (5) working days, to respond to your concerns and explain how we propose to proceed.

In many circumstances, the person you contact will need to discuss the matter with a colleague and consider it further before responding.  You will be given a date by which time you will receive a response.  If a detailed exploration of the issue is needed, a letter or report will be sent to you as quickly as possible.  This will tell you of the outcome of your complaint.  It will explain the conclusion, the reasons for it, and any action taken or proposed.

Parents need to be aware that in some cases the school will not be able to discuss the details of action taken as it would be inappropriate. For example if the action involved staff discipline. Under its legal obligation, the School is also not able to divulge information of matters which require the involvement of a relevant government authority, without the permission of that government authority.

“What happens about confidentiality?”

Your complaint or concern will be treated in a confidential manner and with respect.  Knowledge of it will be limited to the Principal and those directly involved.  The Chair of School Council may also need to be informed.  It is the school’s policy that complaints made by parents should not rebound adversely on their children.

We cannot entirely rule out the need to make third parties outside the school aware of the complaint and possibly also the identity of those involved.  This would only be likely to happen where, for example, a child’s safety was at risk or it become necessary to refer matters to the Police or other external authority.  If information is passed to a third party, you will be informed, unless this is prevented by legal obligation.

“Can I remain anonymous?”

We would prefer to know the identity of a person making a complaint as it can help in investigation and resolution. Anonymous complaints will be noted and dealt with in accordance with the circumstances, available information and the action required.

“What if I am not satisfied with the outcome?”

We hope that you will feel satisfied with the outcome, or at least that you concerns have been fully and fairly considered.

If you are not satisfied, the Principal will offer to refer the matter to the Chair of Council.  Alternatively, you may wish to write directly to the Chair.  The Chair will call for a full report from the Principal, and will examine matters thoroughly before responding to ensure that the complaint has been handled in accordance with the School’s policy and procedure as well as to give further consideration. When notified of the outcome of the Chair’s review and consideration, the opportunity of a meeting with the Chair will be offered if you remain concerned. You may wish to be supported by a friend, but legal representation would not be appropriate at this stage.

If the meeting does not bring about a resolution, the matter would be referred to an independent arbiter.  It is their task to look at the issues in an impartial and confidential manner.  You will be asked if there any papers you would like to have circulated beforehand.  As with the Chairman’s meeting, you will be invited to bring a friend with you.

The school recognises and acknowledges your entitlement to complain and we hope to work with you in the best interests of the children and young people in our care.

For full details of the School’s Complaint policy, please refer to the information contained further within this document.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Policy

Christ Church Grammar School takes complaints seriously and has an open and responsive complaints handling process, for all within the School community, as well as for those outside the community.

We recognise that it is critical to empower children and young people to understand their rights, to report problems and concerns and effectively support them to address the issue.

What constitutes a complaint?

A complaint is an ‘expression of dissatisfaction made to or about an organisation, related to its products, services, staff or the handling of a complaint where a response or resolution is explicitly or implicitly expected or legally required’ (as defined by  the AS/NZS 1002:2014 Guidelines for Complaint Management in Organisations).

A complaint may be made if a complainant thinks that the school or someone has, for example:

  • Done something wrong, not followed school procedures;
  • Failed to do something it/they should have done; or
  • Acted unfairly or impolitely; or
  • Ignored their concern.

A complaint may be made about the school as a whole, about a specific department in the school or about an individual member of staff, or about one or more students.

Whistleblowing

If you are an ‘eligible whistleblower’ and wishes to make a disclosure about an ‘eligible matter’, please refer to the School’s Whistleblower policy and procedure for more details.

Work-related grievances

If you are an employee and have a complaint or dispute about your own employment or have a work-related grievance, please refer to the School’s Grievance Resolution Policy for more details.

Complaint handling principles

All complaints will be dealt with fairly and in a prompt and professional manner, based on the following key principles:

Commitment

Christ Church recognises your right to complain and have your complaint dealt with seriously and in a positive manner.

We will listen and respond to the views and concerns of children and young people, particularly if they communicate (verbally or non-verbally) that they do not feel safe or well.

Child-rights-focused complaints culture

The School is committed to ensuring their complaints process is child-friendly and that students feel respected, valued, listened and responded to.  We prioritise children and young people’s rights, safety and wellbeing.

All our staff, including support staff and volunteers, have been trained to take children and young people seriously when they raise a matter of concern, and that the matter, no matter how trivial, is dealt with respectfully and in accordance with the School’s policy and procedures. All staff have been appropriately and adequately trained to manage complaints related to child protection matters.

At the start of each school year, the complaints process will be explained to students, using age-appropriate language covering, but not limited to, their rights to raise a concern or complaint, who they can speak to, how to raise a complaint and how complaints are handled.

A student may make the complaint themselves, but also has the option of choosing someone, with whom they feel comfortable, to accompany them or to complain on their behalf.

Respecting diversity

We respect diversity and cultural differences by meeting the needs of children and young people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, those with disability and LGBTQI, and providing a safe and culturally appropriate means of making complaints.

Reporting responsibilities

Where required, the School will refer the matter to an external authority, e.g. the Department for Child Protection or the Western Australian Police Service for advice or immediate action.  In this situation, the Principal, or in his absence, the next most senior staff member, must take responsibility for action in the School and the Chair of Council informed as soon as possible. Depending on the circumstances, the School may also need to submit a Critical Incident Report to the Department of Education.

Sharing information and communicating with stakeholders

The sharing of information is important to promote the safety, welfare and wellbeing of children and young people as it enables relevant parties to remain informed throughout the complaints process.

The School’s Privacy policy determines whether information should be shared, and with whom. The School will also seek direction from the Police and/or the Department of Child Protection before disclosing any information.

Confidentiality

The School will treat all complaints in a confidential and respectful manner. No one will be penalised or suffer adverse consequences for making a complaint. Complaints made by parents will not rebound adversely on their children and similarly, complaints raised by the students will not rebound on them or on other students.

Being Fair and Objective

The School strives to act with fairness and a lack of bias, or perception of bias. We will listen to what children and young people say with an open mind, without judgement and take their views seriously. We will not prioritise an adult’s opinion over that of a child or young person where they may differ.

Each party will be provided an opportunity to be heard, in person or in writing as appropriate and to respond to the allegations and/or evidence offered by the other.

Issues or facts which are disputed will be investigated and complaint outcomes will be supported by the evidence and consistent with the School’s established policy.

Complaint outcomes will be finalised by an adjudicator, who may also be the investigator, who is free from bias or the perception of bias. Depending upon the level of complexity, an investigation informs the decision-making process which is finalised by an adjudicator.

Resources

The School will provide adequate resources for effective handling of complaints.  An authorised person will conduct a formal examination and investigation of the complaint and/or areas of disputation.

Costs

There will be no charge to the complainant for the raising of a complaint.

Response time

The School will acknowledge complaints within five (5) school days. We will seek to resolve complaints within ten (10) school days. In all cases, you will be kept informed of the progress of your complaint.

How do I lodge a complaint?

The School will accept complaints lodged verbally by phone, in-person, by letter, email or via the complaints form on the School’s website.

Upon request, the School will provide a complainant with the support needed to formulate and lodge a complaint.  The School will also provide support for staff against whom a complaint is made.

Students may choose to make a complaint themselves, or they may choose to bring along another student or an adult for support.

Persons for whom English is not their first language, or who have reduced literacy skills, may bring a translator or advocate.

Minimum information required when making a complaint

You should provide the following information when making a complaint:

  • The nature of the complaint
  • Copies of any relevant correspondence or documents relating directly to the complaint
  • What you consider may be required to resolve the complaint

Complaints judged to be vexatious, trivial or without substance, or where it is judged not to warrant further action, will not be progressed.  You will be advised of this decision in writing.

Anonymous complaints

Anonymous complaints may be where there is no name or address supplied, or where the complainants say they do not wish to be identified.

Parents and students are encouraged to give their names and will be given reassurance on the issue of confidentiality.  If they persist in wishing to remain anonymous, it is at the Principal’s discretion as to what action, if any, will be taken, depending on the nature of the complaint.

Former students

Christ Church Grammar School will accept complaints from former students and/or their parents. If you have any complaints or concerns, we encourage you to contact the Principal.

However:

  • If a former student (currently over the age of 18) has experienced any form of abuse as a student and wishes to report this behaviour, we encourage the former student and/or their parents or guardians to report this to the Principal and also the WA Police to enable the appropriate actions to be taken.
  • If a former student (still under the age of 18), or his parents or guardians wish to report any form of abuse, we encourage them to contact the Principal and also the Department of Child Protection and Family Support.

Full fee overseas students

Overseas students

Overseas students and parents are required to access Christ Church Grammar School’s complaints process within 20 working days. If the student chooses not to access the process or withdraws from the process, or the process is completed and results in a decision supporting the School, the Admissions Registrar must notify the Department of Education through PRISMS of the student not achieving the satisfactory course progress as soon as practicable.

Overseas Students Ombudsman – external process

In the event of an overseas student being dissatisfied with the result or conduct of the internal complaint appeals process, the School will advise the student of his right to access the external appeals process by contacting the Overseas Students Ombudsman at www.ombudsman.gov.au  or phone 1800 117 000. This service is free and independent for external appeals and complaints about decisions made by the School.

Should the sanction imposed by the School be suspension or expulsion, the students enrolment and provision of relevant course content will be maintained whilst the complaints and appeals process is underway.

Roles and responsibilities

Staff member receiving the complaint

  • Listen supportively, believe and support the child or young person who approaches them with a complaint or concern
  • Ensure all complaints are handled in accordance with the School’s Complaints policy and procedures
  • Seek advice from or escalate the matter to their Head of Department / Head of House (Senior School) or Deputy Head of Preparatory School (Preparatory School) / Executive
  • Keep written and dated notes of the concern or complaint
  • After discussion with their Line Manager and/or Executive, resolve the matter with the complainant

Head of House / Head of Department

  • Ensure all complaints are handled in accordance with the School’s Complaints policy and procedures
  • Advise the relevant Executive if they have been made aware of complaints made to their direct reports
  • Keep written and dated notes of the concern or complaint

School Executive

  • Ensure all complaints are handled in accordance with the School’s Complaints policy and procedures
  • Records details of the complaint on the Complaints Register
  • Assist with investigating and resolving the complaint
  • When the complaint has been resolved, complete the Complaints Register with the necessary information
  • Review and analyse the Complaints Register regularly to identify causes and systemic failures to inform continuous improvement and enable detection of any emerging patterns

Principal

  • Ultimate responsibility for all school related decisions
  • Ensure all complaints are handled in accordance with the School’s Complaints policy and procedures
  • Ensure details of the complaint are recorded on the Complaints Register
  • Notify Chair of School Council, the relevant responsible government authority and the Director General (as required)
  • Shares serious and/or intractable complaints with the Chair of Council

Chair of Council

  • Ensure that all complaints are handled in accordance with the School’s Complaints policy and procedures
  • Manage serious or intractable complaints

Director General

The Director General of the Department of Education is responsible for ensuring that schools observe the registration standards, including the standard about its complaints handling system. Any student, parent or community member is entitled to contact the Director General with concerns about how the school has dealt with a complaint. While the Director General may consider whether the school has breached the registration standards, she does not have power to intervene in a complaint or override the school’s decision.

More information is available on the Department of Education website.

Queries regarding the progress of the complaint

You may enquire as to the progress of your complaint at any time by contacting the appropriate person directly. At the time of lodging a verbal complaint, or in the acknowledgment letter for a written complaint, this person will be identified to you.

Outcome of a complaint

The outcome of all written complaints will be provided to you in writing.

If you are dissatisfied with the Schools attempts to resolve your complaint, you may wish to express your concerns to the Principal.

This request can be made verbally; however, it is preferred in writing. Written complaints should be addressed to:

PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL
The Principal
PO Box 399
CLAREMONT WA 6910

Serious complaints will be shared with the Chair of Council by the Principal.  There may be certain circumstances, such as complaints about the Principal or a Council member, when the parents need to direct their complaint in writing to the Chair.  This should be addressed to:

PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL, to be opened by the Chairman only
The Chair of Council
PO Box 399
CLAREMONT WA 6910

Complaints about the Chair may be addressed to:

PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL
The Visitor
Anglican Church
Diocese of Perth
PO Box W2067
PERTH WA 6846

Intractable complaints

Most complaints can be resolved if approached positively.  A complaint may become intractable, due to its nature or to the way in which it was handled, or possibly because the parent perceives the school to have ‘closed ranks’ against them.

Intractable complaints are usually taken to the Chair of Council.

  • Referral to the Chair of the School Council

In some cases the Principal will refer the matter to the Chair of Council and inform the parents that this stage has been reached.  However, a situation may arise where the complainant is unhappy with the Principal’s response. In this case the parent should write directly to the Chair.

The Chair will discuss the matter fully with the Principal and be provided with relevant documentation.  If a briefing is required from a member of staff, this should occur in the presence of the Principal.

The Chair will then respond to the parents, notifying them that he/she is reviewing the matter, asking them if they wish to add anything further and provide a date by which they may expect a response.

The Chair’s response should be clear and detailed, and should offer a meeting if the parents remain dissatisfied.

  • Meeting with the Chair of the Council

If a meeting is requested, the Chair would offer to meet the parents at a time convenient to them.  Those involved are:

  • the Chair of Council
  • the Principal and, at the most, one other member of staff
  • the parents

Parents are permitted to bring with them a supportive friend who is not involved with the complaint.

The Chair, will listen to the parents and the Principal, in the hope that a solution may be found. If this is not possible, and the parents wish to take the matter further, they may wish to seek the advice of an independent arbitrator.

  • Referral to an arbiter

As a final step in the disputes and complaints procedure, if appropriate, the school may choose to use an independent arbiter to resolve the issue. The arbiter would have to be:

  • Agreed by both parties
  • Remunerated by both parties (if appropriate)
  • Assured both parties will accept the arbiter’s decision.
  • Further action

At all stages of a complaints resolution procedure the complainant should be reminded that they can seek legal advice if they wish, especially at the point where the school has done all it can to reach a resolution.

Record keeping

Christ Church Grammar will keep a log of complaints in an electronic Complaints Register. All written correspondence will be saved electronically. Records concerning students will be stored securely and in accordance with the Records Retention & Disposal Schedule for Non-Government Schools.

The School will maintain clear confidential records of the complaint with the following information:

  • date of complaint;
  • name of complainant and relationship to the school;
  • subject matter of the complaint, including the name of any person complained about and his or her relationship to the school;
  • complaint investigator and position or role at the school;
  • date investigation completed;
  • whether complaint upheld;
  • resolution agreed with or offered to complainant;
  • date of referral for review (for example by the governing body);
  • complaint reviewer and relationship to the school;
  • date review finalised;
  • review resolution agreed with or offered to; and
  • location of confidential detailed file (if applicable)

because:

  • it may become the cause of future legal action;
  • patterns in the record may indicate a need for action;
  • the Principal should be able to check the record if necessary

The School will review the Complaints Register annually to enable the detection of any patterns emerging over time.

Results

Where a complaint results in the identification of a need for change in the School’s procedures, those changes will be made and notification that action has been taken communicated in writing to the complainant.

Review

The School will review its complaints handling process, including its child-friendliness, annually for improvement. The School will also seek opinions from the students on the ‘child-friendliness’ if the process.

The School will also review its complaints register annually to enable detection of any emerging patterns.