Parental Complaints Procedure
This policy outlines the procedure to be implemented when addressing Parental Complaints. This Parental Complaints procedure was developed by the INTO (Irish National Teachers Association) and the CPSMA (Catholic Primary School Managers Association). The procedures are recognised and followed by NPC-P (National Parents Council-Primary) and the IPPN (Irish Primary Principal’s Network).
This policy was developed by the staff of Scoil Naomh Áine, Rathgarogue in consultation with the Board of Management. Its purpose is to provide information and guidelines to all staff members, Board of Management members, parents and guardians. It aims to ensure that parental complaints are addressed effectively, fairly and timely.
Stage 1 (Informal Stage)
1.1 A parent/guardian who wishes to make a complaint should, unless there are local arrangements to the contrary, approach the class teacher with a view to resolving the complaint.
Extract from Policy on Parent/ Teacher Communications
"Informal Parent/Teacher Meetings
1 Communication between parents and teachers is encouraged
2 Arranging parent/teacher meetings within the school day while children are in school is difficult. However, parents are welcome to speak to the Principal or teacher(s) at a pre-arranged time.
3 Meetings with the class teacher at the class door to discuss a child’s concern/progress is discouraged on a number of grounds
A teacher cannot adequately supervise his/her class while at the same time speaking to a parent
It is difficult to be discrete when so many children are standing close by
It can be embarrassing for a child when his/her parent is talking to the teacher at a classroom door
Occasions occur where a parent needs to speak to a teacher urgently. Sometimes these meetings need to take place without prior notice. The Principal will facilitate such meetings making every effort to ensure that the children in the class do not lose out on any of the teaching/learning time."
1.2 Where the parent/guardian is unable to resolve the complaint with the class teacher she/he should approach the principal teacher with a view to resolving it.
1.3 If the complaint is still unresolved the parent/ guardian should raise the matter with the chairperson of the Board of Management with a view to resolving it.
Stage 2 (Formal Stage)
2.1 If the complaint is still unresolved and the parent/guardian wishes to pursue the matter further she/he should lodge the complaint in writing with the chairperson of the Board of Management.
2.2 The chairperson should bring the precise nature of the written complaint to the notice of the teacher and seek to resolve the matter between the parties within 5 days of receipt of the written complaint.
3.1 If the complaint is not resolved informally, the chairperson should, subject to the general authorisation of the Board and except in those cases where the chairperson deems the particular authorisation of the Board to be required:
(a) supply the teacher with a copy of the written complaint; and
(b) arrange a meeting with the teacher and, where applicable, the principal teacher with a view to resolving the complaint. Such a meeting should take place within 10 days of receipt of the written complaint.
4.1 If the complaint is still not resolved the chairperson should make a formal report to the Board within 10 days of the meeting referred to in 3.1 (b)
4.2 If the Board considers that the complaint is not substantiated the teacher and the complainant should be informed within 3 days of the Board meeting.
4.3 If the Board considers that the complaint is substantiated or that it warrants further investigation it proceeds as follows:
The teacher should be informed that the investigation is proceeding to the next stage;
The teacher should be supplied with a copy of any written evidence in support of the complaint;
The teacher should be requested to supply a written statement to the Board in response to the complaint;
The teacher should be afforded the opportunity to make a presentation of case to the Board. The teacher would be entitled to be accompanied and assisted by a friend at any such meeting;
The Board may arrange a meeting with the complainant if it considers such is required. The complainant would be entitled to be accompanied and assisted by a friend at any such meeting;
The meeting of the Board of Management referred to in (d) and (e) will take place within 10 days of the meeting referred to in 3.1 (b).
5.1 When the Board has completed its investigation, the chairperson should convey the decision of the Board in writing to the teacher and the complainant within 5 days of the meeting of the Board.
5.2 The decision of the Board shall be final.
Below is an extract from Catholic Primary Schools Management Association Handbook 2016 (Pages 101 – 102)
Only those complaints about teachers which are written and signed by parents/guardians of pupils may be investigated formally by the Board of Management, except where those complaints are deemed by the Board to be:
I. on matters of professional competence and which are to be referred to the Department of Education;
II. frivolous or vexatious complaints and complaints which do not impinge on the work of a teacher in a school;
III. complaints in which either party has recourse to law or to another existing procedure.
Unwritten complaints not in the above categories may be processed informally as set out in Stage 1 of this procedure.
This policy was ratified by the Board of Management of Scoil Naomh Áine in January 2020 and shall be reviewed in 2024.