Complaints Procedure & Guidelines

The Board of Management considers it necessary to remind the community which makes up the school of the procedures which should be observed in circumstances where difficulties arise and a party wishes to make a complaint. These procedures have been negotiated nationally between all the partners in education. In addition the Board of Management offers the following guidelines which should be followed in stage 1 of the procedures.

Guidelines

If an incident occurs, care should be taken to discuss the situation in a calm and reasonable manner.

  • An appointment for a meeting should be made to discuss the situation with a view to resolving the problem.
  • It is not advisable to conduct such a meeting with a child present unless it is agreed by both the teacher and parent that this is appropriate.
  • Confidentiality between both parties is essential.

These procedures and guidelines are in place in order to preserve one of the central relationships in the school community, that of the parent and teacher.

Important note: Revised procedures for processing complaints by Parents will be prescribed for all schools under Section 28 of the Education Act 1998. When available, the revised procedures will be sent to each school and will replace the procedures printed here. Please ensure that the correct and up to date procedures are used.

Introduction

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 resource 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.

Stage 1.

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.

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.

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 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.

Stage 3.

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 person 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

Stage 4.

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 3.2 (b)

4.2 If the Board considers that the complaint is not substantiated the teacher and the complainant should be so 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:

(a) The teacher should be informed that the investigation is proceeding to the next stage.
(b) The teacher should be supplied with a copy of any written evidence in support of the complaint.
(c) The teacher should be requested to supply a written statement to the Board in response to the complaint.
(d) The teacher should be afforded an 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.
(e) The Board may arrange a meeting with the complainant if it considers such to be required. The complainant would be entitled to be accompanied and assisted by a friend at any such meeting;

Stage 5.

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. 5.3 The Complaints Procedure shall be reviewed after three years;
5.4 CPSMA or INTO may withdraw from this agreement having given the other party 3 monthsʼ notice of intention to do so.

(In this agreement ʻdaysʼ means school days.)

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