Query, Concern, Complaint – What to do!


As a parent, sometimes we want to come in to school and talk about a query, concern, complaint, and we aren’t sure of the process or who we should talk too.

Here are some helpful hints:

PARENT ENQUIRY

As a parent do you have an enquiry?

If YES – Please make an appointment to see your child’s teacher. You can do this by phoning the school office or by e.mailing the staff member concerned (email addresses can be found here). Giving a brief outline of your enquiry is helpful.   It is really important that appointments are made so the staff member can give you their full attention and be prepared for the meeting.

NOT SATISFIED? – Please see the Associate Principals/Prinicipal.  You can do this by phoning the school office or by e.mailing the staff member concerned.  Giving a brief outline of your enquiry is helpful. It is really important that appointments are made so the staff member can give you their full attention and be prepared for the meeting.

NOT SATISFIED? – Please write to the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees and follow the Complaints Policy.

 

COMPLAINTS POLICY NAG 3
INTRODUCTION:
When complaints arise they need to be dealt with in a fair, efficient manner following established criteria. For the purposes of this policy “complaints” are defined as being statements which express a strong concern about some matter.
OBJECTIVES:
1. At times personnel must agree to disagree after appropriate consultation has taken place.
2. Consultation and communication are the key elements in avoiding conflict, however personnel in positions of
responsibility are held accountable for decisions and hence at times they need to assert their authority.
3. Complaints are best dealt with at school and not in the community.
4. All written complaints need to be acknowledged within 48 hours.
5. Complaints are to be stated in specific terms.
6. Complaints will be dealt with in accordance to provisions in the award contract.
7. Good communication is the key to avoiding conflict
GUIDELINES:
Any person who chooses to make a complaint against support staff, teacher, principal, Board of Trustee member or a school procedure or action has three steps to follow:
Step One:
Make an appointment with the person involved.
Step Two:
Discuss the complaint with the person involved.
The complaint must not be made in the presence or hearing of pupils.
If the complaint is regarding a staff member, they may request that the Principal is present for the discussion.
If at this stage no resolution can be found:
Step Three:
Refer the complaint to the Principal personally or in writing. The principal will review the actions thus far and offer recommendations.
Step Four:
If a satisfactory understanding cannot be arrived at with the Principal the complainant may submit the complaint in writing to the Board of Trustees complaints sub committee signed and dated. All letters addressed to the Chairman of the Board are for the whole Board. The Chairman cannot decide independently as to what action will be taken unless delegated authority to do so by the Board. The Board of Trustees shall forward a copy of the complaint to the Principal within 24 hours who shall place it before the person complained against.
1. The person must be advised of the specific nature of the complaint and a reasonable opportunity provided for the person to respond.
2. The person must be advised of their right to request union assistance and/or union representation.
3. The BOT sub committee will be made up of the, Principal (if not directly involved in the complaint) and two other Board member (senior in term) selected as warranted.
4. The complainant will be encouraged to attend the Board of Trustees complaints sub committee meeting and speak to his/her complaint. This meeting may be the monthly meeting, or possibly if warranted a separate subcommittee meeting.
5. The BOT sub committee will investigate the issues involved. They must have all the information from all parties involved. After due consideration, and in due course the B.O.T. complaints sub committee shall consider the staff members reply (if any) and the complainant’s point of view and shall use its best endeavors to reconcile the differences involved.
6. The Board will inform the relevant parties of their decision in writing. The Boards decision may influence further policy, procedures and actions.
7. Failure to comply with the process outlined in the policy will mean that the complainant will be asked to begin the process appropriately before any action will be considered.
8. For some complaints outside mediation may be sought from organisations such as STA and NZEI etc.
9. The Board recognises that not all complainants will be satisfied with the outcome of a complaint. After one reconsideration, (if requested to reconsider) and if the board is confident of its decision, it may refuse to enter into further discussion/correspondence. In making such a decision the NZSTA helpdesk can assist by giving an objective assessment of a board’s processes in dealing with the complaint.
10. The Board must exercise caution when dealing with complaints regarding staff, particularly in relation to confidentiality and processes to ensure the principles of natural justice are met. It is advisable to contact the regional NZSTA personnel/industrial adviser in such cases. The board will need to consider the relevant staff disciplinary policies, employment contracts, and expert advice from the NZSTA adviser.
11. A complaint regarding lack of compliance in relation to an agreed complaint resolution will be treated as a serious matter and actioned with urgency as a new complaint rather than as a reconsideration of the previous issue.
12. Trustees need to be clear in their mind of the difference between a complaint they have as a parent [ie regarding their own child] and a complaint they have as a trustee.
In the first instance they are required to follow the normal procedures and are excluded from decision making due to conflict of interest. The latter case is dealt with as an agenda item for the whole board [possibly with the public excluded].
13. This policy must work in conjunction with:
The Education Act
The current employment contract
If the complaint is against the Principal or a member of the Board of Trustees such a complaint must be made in writing to the Chairperson of the Board who shall use their best endeavors to reconcile the differences involved by firstly following the process outlined in this policy following steps 1,2,3 and 4.
Conclusion
There is no such thing as a problem, just situations to be resolved.
REVIEWED: April 2018