Guidelines for Resolving Complaints

Adapted from: CEO Sydney Resolution of Complaints Policy

RATIONALE

Children are entrusted into the care of their school community in the belief that they will be formed and educated according to the Catholic tradition. Within the reality of the schooling experience, it is recognised that, from time to time, misunderstandings and differences of opinion will occur, and that these need to be resolved satisfactorily. Addressing such matters within a framework of dignity, respect, truth and trust can provide powerful opportunities for community building and growth for all concerned.

Such an approach will:

  • develop a positive and collaborative relationship between home and school
  • welcome and value diversity of opinion
  • inform the staff of the changing needs of students and families
  • have clear and open communication within the community

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

  • Confidentiality, access, dignity and impartiality form the basis of the complaints resolution process
  • Stakeholders must work together with respect and openness to achieve fair and reasonable decisions
  • Complaints resolution is most effective at the school level
  • Each parent/caregiver has the right to be heard and to expect that ongoing relationships will continue respectfully
  • Complaints will be resolved as quickly as possible
  • The input of all stakeholders is valued and respected. All relevant information will be taken into account
  • Restoration of ‘right relationships’ is most often best achieved through ‘restorative practice’
  • The communal needs of the school community generally exceed the needs of any individual
  • Staff members have a right to be informed of formal complaints that are made relating to them. The principal will immediately be informed of all such complaints.
  • Accurate and appropriate notes will be kept with due regard to the confidentiality of the concerned parties and a copy supplied to the principal
  • Complaints must be forwarded to the principal, even if anonymous, if they involve:

– allegations of child abuse

– allegations of misconduct of a sexual nature by a staff member against a student

– alleged breaches of legislation, including the Crimes Act

  • Whilst it is understood that all concerns about a child’s education and well-being naturally cause anxiety for parents/ caregivers, it is expected that complaints will be lodged in a manner that respects the dignity of the person receiving them. Similarly, staff are expected to receive the complaint with the same level of respect
  • Principals and staff are within their rights to require that any meeting or discussion be discontinued if a complainant becomes abusive, uses profane or threatening language or attempts to physically intimidate a staff member
  • The availability of a review is an integral component of the complaints resolution process (see below)

PROCEDURES:

The flowchart below gives a generic outline of the procedure for making a complaint in relation to teaching and learning (usually commencing with the person the complaint is being made about)

NOTES:

  • See ‘Review of Decisions’ guidelines below
  • Students will not be moved from classes for reasons to do with a complaint without the approval of the principal.
Contacts in specific circumstances Position (in order of contact)
Welfare (e.g. bullying, uniform, attendance) Homeroom teacher, Year Coordinator or Assistant Year Coordinator
Course selection Curriculum Coordinator
Assessment Classroom teacher, KLA Coordinator, Curriculum Coordinator
Other academic matters Classroom teacher, KLA Coordinator, Curriculum Coordinator
Child Protection Principal
Financial College Business Manager, Principal

CONTACT DETAILS

All Saints Catholic Senior College

Leacocks Lane

Casula 2170

Ph: 02 9821 1822 Fax: 02 9601 2748

Email: info@allsaintscasula.catholic.edu.au

Regional Office

Southern Region Office

300 The River Road,

Revesby, NSW 2212

Tel: (02) 9772 7000

Fax: (02) 9772 7009

Central Office

Sydney Catholic Schools (SCS)

38 Renwick Street

P.O. Box 217 Leichhardt, NSW 2040

Tel: (02) 9569 6111

Fax: (02) 9550 0052

REVIEW OF DECISIONS

SCS provides a review process for ‘significant complaints’ that have been considered at the school level and were unable to be resolved.

  • People who raise complaints may request that a Regional Consultant conducts an independent review of the issue.
  • The request must be in writing and must set out the reasons for the review request. The Regional Consultant will determine if the matter should be reviewed. If the Regional Consultant elects to review a decision made by the school, then the Request for Review of Decision form will be provided by the Regional Consultant to the complainant.
  • The outcome of the review is binding on all parties.
  • A Regional Consultant or other senior member of the CEO will review the material provided.
  • If a review is not agreed to, the original decision will stand.
  • If a review is agreed to, the reviewer will take all reasonable steps to gain relevant information from all parties, and will make a determination based on the evidence. All associated material will be recorded on the Parent/Caregiver Contact Database.
  • If a review recommends that the original decision should be modified or changed, the Regional Consultant will work with the Principal to provide a suitable resolution, based on the findings of the reviewer. If it has been dismissed, then the original decision will stand.
  • After the final determination in a review process, the case will not be re-opened unless, in the opinion of the reviewer, the Regional Director or the Executive Director, substantial new information has been presented that could potentially change the outcome.
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