Policies and Procedures

If you would like a paper copy of any of the policies listed below, please contact the school office.

Accessibility Plan

This is a downloadable document.  Please click here

Admissions Policy

ADMISSIONS POLICY 2019/20

Pupils will be admitted to the school into the Reception year in September following their 4th birthday (i.e. pupils must be four years old by 31st August), without reference to ability or aptitude.  The admission number for any one year group is 120 and class size is limited to 30 per class. 

 Oversubscription criteria

Where applications for admission exceed the number of places available, the following criteria will be applied.

The law requires the school to admit pupils with a Statement of Special Educational Needs where a Local Authority has specifically named Lynch Hill School as the most appropriate placement. These applications will usually be agreed in advance of the main allocation process. Where they are a late application, the school can be required to admit even if the admission number has been reached.

If the school is oversubscribed, after the admission of pupils with a Statement of Special Educational Needs where the school is named in the Statement, priority for admission will be given to those children who meet the criteria set out below, in order:

1.         Looked after children and previously looked after children.

A 'looked after child' is a child who is (a) in the care of a local authority, or (b) being provided with accommodation by a local authority in the exercise of their social services functions (see the definition in Section 22(1) of the Children Act 1989) at the time of making an application to a school. Previously looked after children are children who were looked after, but ceased to be so because they were adopted (or became subject to a residence order or special guardianship order.

2.         Children of staff

a)     where the member of staff has been employed at the school for two or more years at the time at which the application for admission to the school is made, and/or

b)     the member of staff is recruited to fill a vacant post for which there is a demonstrable skill shortage.

3.         Children who have a sibling attending the school. ‘Sibling includes step siblings, foster siblings, adopted siblings and other children living permanently at the same address or siblings who are former pupils of the school’.

4.         Children who have strong medical or social grounds for admission for which supporting evidence, eg. a letter, is supplied from their doctor, health visitor or relevant professional.

5.         All other children ranked according to the proximity of the applicant’s home to the school measured from home to the school’s main entrance using GPS software.

Tie Breaker: If Lynch Hill School does not have places for all the children in a particular category, random allocation will be used as a tie-break to decide who has highest priority for admission if the distance between two children’s homes and the school is the same. This process will be independently verified.

Applications and offers

Entry Admissions : Applying for a place in Reception

There is one intake into Reception, in September, each year. 

An application for a place at Lynch Hill School is made using the common application form (CAF).  Admission to Reception is coordinated by Slough Borough Council.

Places are allocated on the basis of our determined admission arrangements only, and a decision to offer or refuse admission is made by the Admissions Committee established by the Governing Body.

In the normal admissions round, an offer of a place in Reception is sent by the local authority and the school does not contact parents until after these offers have been received.

The timeline for this process is set be the local authority.  Applications received after the closing date will be deemed as late.  These will be considered after those received by the due date, if places are available.  If places are not available, the application will be held on the school’s waiting list.  If a place becomes available it will be allocated on the basis of the oversubscription criteria. 

Deferred entry to school

Parents can request that the date their child is admitted to school is deferred until later in the academic year or until the term in which the child reaches compulsory school age, and Parents can request that their child takes up the place part-time until the child reaches compulsory school age.

In Year admissions

This applies to admissions in all other year groups and to Reception after the normal admissions round.  Lynch Hill has 120 places per year group, year R to year 6. 

An application for an ‘in year’ admission is made using the school admission form and is accepted at any time through the year.  Alternatively, an application via Slough Borough Council is equally acceptable.  These applications are processed by the school.  All matters relating to entry admissions apply equally to in year admissions.

 Withdrawing an offer or a place

The school may withdraw an offer if it has been offered in error, a parent has not responded within a reasonable period of time, or it is established that the offer was obtained through a fraudulent or intentionally misleading application. Where an offer is withdrawn on the basis of misleading information, the application will be considered afresh, and a right of appeal offered if an offer is refused.

Waiting lists

The school maintains a clear, fair and objective waiting list.  Each added child will require the list to be ranked again in line with the published oversubscription criteria. The waiting list is held for one academic year.  The list is closed on 31st August and fresh applications are required for the new school year.  Priority is not given to children based on the date their application was received or their name was added to the list. Looked after children, previously looked after children, and those allocated a place at the school in accordance with a Fair Access Protocol take precedence over those on a waiting list.

Right to appeal

In all cases, where a decision has been made to refuse a place at the school parents have the right of appeal.  Appeals information is available from the school office and on the website.  All appeals need to be made in writing to the Appeals Clerk and will be considered by an independent panel.

 

Behaviour Policy

The welfare of all pupils is our primary concern. Rules are kept to a minimum and are based on self-discipline and respect for other people, for school buildings, equipment and resources.  Behaviour that endangers self or others is not acceptable and we look to the support of all parents in maintaining high standards and a caring, learning community.  At Lynch Hill, children learn to relate to others and take responsibility for their actions. Good relationships are seen as fundamental in forming positive pupil attitudes and the whole school community is encouraged to share in this process.  As a Rights Respecting School, in each class, staff and pupils work together to agree a class charter, which highlights everyone’s rights and responsibilities in accordance with the UN Charter of the Rights of the Child.  We try to involve parents at the earliest stage with any concerns over behaviour or learning. The staff exercise the same kind of control over the pupils as that of a careful and reasonable parent.  It is considered very important that teaching and learning takes place in a calm environment.  Teachers have reward systems and continually emphasise and encourage responsible behaviour and positive attitudes to others and to work.  Praise awards are given weekly to recognise individual achievements.

Expectations of Behaviour

It is essential that the children make the most of every opportunity to learn whilst in school. We have therefore set an absolute expectation that all children will behave in class, staying in their seat, listening to the teacher, working quietly, completing the work set and allowing other children to work uninterrupted. A positive attitude in school is essential if all children in the class are to be allowed to learn and we know that parents as well as teachers are keen for this to happen.

Managing Behaviour at Lynch Hill

Principles: Our intention is to encourage good manners and self-discipline in a secure environment. All staff set a positive role model to the pupils. Our school expects everyone to be courteous, trustworthy and responsible and the atmosphere to be calm, happy and work-orientated.

All staff:

Ø praise acceptable behaviour actions and efforts regularly and consciously.

Ø notice and reward improved behaviour.

Ø use and emphasise positive reinforcements.

Ø actively teach children how to behave acceptably, setting targets for those who need them.

Ø promote rights, responsibilities and respect.

 

  • Praise is used much more frequently than reprimand.
  • Children are encouraged to discuss and take responsibility for their actions. In an incident all parties involved share in this process; e.g. in the case of a fight, everyone involved must share the blame and sanctions vary according to the level of involvement. This includes those on the side-lines who encourage the proceedings. In all instances, owning-up or telling the truth is praised and rewarded where appropriate.
  • Whilst maintaining a positive approach to managing behaviour we operate a “zero tolerance” of disruptive behaviour in class especially, where it prevents teaching and learning taking place. Children who hinder the progress of lessons are removed to work with the Executive Headteacher or Deputy Headteacher.
  • Class charters are negotiated with each class in September detailing class expectations. A warning is given when any of these responsibilities are persistently broken.

Encouraging Good Behaviour

Children enjoy praise and encouragement at all times, but all enjoy expressions of success. At Lynch Hill, we give positive reinforcement of good behaviour high priority through:

  • Verbal praise: we aim to ‘catch them being good’ and reward what we see, particularly those who find it difficult to behave acceptably
  • Liberal use of bonus points and stickers for immediate reinforcement of expectations
  • Credits: a special reward system for Year 6 children to encourage and reward a positive attitude in meeting challenging expectations. Year 6 children receive credit stamps, which can be collected and traded for goods in the credit cupboard. Year 6 children receive credits for good work and behaviour. These are traded for gifts from the “Credit” cupboard.

A ’Good Day Ticket’ is awarded for a good day - that is no concerns have been raised over work, homework, behaviour in class and in the playground, or attitude towards all staff and prefects during the day. These are stamped in their homework diary (so no diary, no ticket).

Awards are given for the number collected.

Weekly awards are presented in assembly each week:

§ Praise awards to reinforce good attitude and particular effort during the week

§ Executive Headteacher’s Award per class for achievement throughout the week

§ KS2 Class Award for attendance

Class Book of Achievement: record of individual successes in and out of school

Gold Book of Achievement: on display in the entrance hall containing the roll of honour for awards and any good news we wish to share publicly

Good Day Ticket Awards: 20 for bronze, 40 for silver, 60 for gold per term. Badges, and certificates are awarded in assembly. Names are displayed on the roll of honour and in a newsletter to parents at the end of term.

Personal Development Awards (levels 1,2 and 3): These awards are for year 5 and 6 and cover aspects such as behaviour, attendance, leadership and learning. Children are set personal targets within each aspect by their teacher.

Special awards are also given at the end of term to recognise full attendance, special achievements; e.g. in spelling tests, and significant achievement during the term.

Peer Mentors / Prefects: Year 6 children who demonstrate a responsible attitude are entrusted with certain whole school responsibilities.

Prize Day: an annual end-of-year event when those who have earned a Gold Award each term in the year receive further recognition alongside other awards for full attendance, personal development and academic success. Prize-winners’ photographs are displayed in the area outside each hall.

KIDZONE: This is a session of free activities given as a reward to those children who have behaved well, each week, on Friday.

Dealing with unacceptable behaviour

The order of consequences for unacceptable behaviour are:

  • A quiet verbal warning or moving the child within the room.
  • A verbal warning that if the misbehaviour continues the child will lose KidZone time or be removed from class. We operate a policy of ‘zero tolerance’ of disruptive behaviour in lessons. This must be reinforced with prompt action.
  • Loss of KidZone time can be bought back, if appropriate
  • Removal of the child to work out of class with the Executive Headteacher or Deputy. The child may receive a formal warning to be recorded by the class teacher and the child will be required to stay to detention that evening.
  • Loss of KidZone time is given for misbehaviour in class including persistent talking, wandering around class, etc. This loss of time may be earned back with good behaviour the next day.
  • Formal warnings are given for misbehaviour only and are recorded by the teacher in class. These are given for: disruption of lessons, swearing, fighting inside school, rudeness, arguing with staff and refusal to co-operate.

The child has three chances: three warnings mean that the matter is then referred to a Senior member of staff who will then speak with the child and investigate the situation with all the parties involved. At every stage, we encourage the child to take responsibility for their actions and recognise that they have choices in how they respond to situations. In all instances owning-up or telling the truth is praised and rewarded where appropriate. If necessary, a ‘yellow letter’ is then sent to the parents to inform them of the situation. These are numbered and may count towards an exclusion.

We view each week as a fresh start for everyone. We like to put the events of the previous week aside and allow everyone a chance to prove that they have taken responsibility for their actions and can rise to expectations.

 

Bullying is unacceptable and will not be tolerated at Lynch Hill. The school has a specific policy for dealing with bullying incidents. Members of staff respond to signs of bullying and act promptly and firmly against it. We recognise that bullying can make a child’s life unhappy and can hinder general progress. Children who bully others will be dealt with through the Behaviour Policy and serious incidents are cause for immediate exclusion.

Sanctions:

  • Break-time detention (in the school hall): is used for children who either do not complete the work set in the lesson or fail to return homework or misbehave in assembly.
  • After school detention: is used for persistent work related issues particularly non-completion of homework. Children will be expected to stay for one-hour after school and at least 24 hours’ notice will be given to parents. Parents’ permission is not required as the school has the right to detain pupils for this purpose.
  • Unacceptable behaviour in the playground.  Lunchtime incidents are dealt with using the Lunchtime warning system, which may lead to exclusion for the lunchtime period. Break-time incidents lead to detention at playtime.
  • Children removed from class for disruption of lessons will work elsewhere in the school - with a senior member of staff or in another part of the school. The child will be expected to stay to detention that evening and parents will be informed.
  • Continued misbehaviour resulting in a series of yellow letters to parents. The Executive Headteacher will invite the parents into school to discuss their child’s behaviour and ways it can be addressed. Other professionals may be involved in this discussion to offer support and advice. The child may be excluded from their class for a day to work in isolation and privileges withdrawn.

Parents may be requested to visit the school on a regular basis to review their child’s behaviour.

Dealing with challenging and disruptive behaviour is a shared responsibility between home and school and a strong, supportive partnership is the best means of tackling the problem.

In some circumstances, it may be necessary to exclude a child temporarily from school. This may result from persistent misbehaviour, which has prompted a number of ‘yellow letters’ sent to parents (usually four within two calendar months) or from a significant one-off incident.  This will be followed by a full case conference to discuss the issues relating to the misbehaviour and to plan a positive way forward.

The ultimate sanction is permanent exclusion from the school.

All these actions are taken in the best interests of everyone at Lynch Hill. It is our intention that all children should be able to enjoy their time at school and receive the best possible education. This is only possible it everyone - staff, pupils and parents - is co-operative, calm and respectful of others.

Charging and Remissions Policy

Introduction

This charging policy has been compiled in line with DFE requirements and in accordance with s457 of the Education Act, 1996.

Basic Principles

No charge can be made for education during school hours.  The definition of ‘education’ includes materials, equipment and transport provided in school hours by the Local Education Authority or the school to carry pupils between the school and the activity.  ‘School hours’ are those when the school is actually in session, and do not include the break in the middle of the day.

School trips, visits and practical activities enhance the pupils’ learning and broaden their knowledge and experience.  These are undertaken with the voluntary contributions of parents.  No pupil will be excluded from an activity because his or her parents cannot or will not make a voluntary contribution.  The opportunity to pay in instalments will be offered to parents who wish to pay in this way. 

Voluntary Contributions

The school may ask for voluntary contributions towards the cost of school-time activities to assist with funding, subject to the following conditions:

·         Any children of parents who do not wish to contribute will not be treated any differently.

·         Where there are insufficient contributions to make the activity viable, the activity will be cancelled.

Examples where parents may be asked for a voluntary contribution include:

·         Swimming

·         School Trips

·         Enrichment activities e.g. external drama group

Chargeable Activities

·         Activities Outside School Hours
Educational activities provided outside school hours (including travel).
 

·         Residential Activities
Board and lodging costs (but only those costs) of residential trips deemed to take place during school time.
Residential trips deemed to take place outside school time (other than for those activities listed in 1 above).
 

·         Ancillary Services
The School may offer additional non educational services and the scale of charges will be approved by the Governing Body on an annual basis, e.g. Breakfast Club, Little Explorers (Extended Nursery) and Funzone (After School Club).
 

·         Lettings

The school will make its facilities available to outside users at a charge of at least the cost of providing the facilities. The scale of charges will be approved annually by the Finance Committee. 

·         Music tuition
Music tuition for individuals or groups of up to four pupils.

Families Qualifying For Remission or Help With Charges

In order to remove financial barriers from disadvantaged pupils, the governing body has agreed that some activities and visits where charges can legally be made will be offered at no charge or a reduced charge to parents/carers in particular circumstances. This remissions policy sets out the circumstances in which charges will be waived. Criteria for qualification for remission are given below.

Parents/carers in receipt of

·         Income Support

·         Income-based Jobseekers Allowance

·         Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

·         Child Tax Credit, provided that Working Tax Credit is not also received and the family’s income (as assessed by HM Revenue and Customs) does not exceed the sum given in the Revenue and Customs rules

·         Guaranteed State Pension

Governors have agreed that, from 1st February 2016, families in receipt of free school meals will be eligible for a 50% reduction in charges for school trips and visits and 50% off school uniform costs where the uniform is purchased from school.

Extra-Curricular Activities Run by External Providers

External providers will set and collect their own charges.

Other Charges

The Executive Headteacher, School Business Manager, Finance Committee or Governing Body may levy charges for miscellaneous services up to the cost of providing such services e.g. photocopying.

Breakages and Damages

In cases of wilful or malicious damage to equipment or breakages, or loss of school books on loan to children, the Executive Headteacher or School Business Manager in consultation with the Chair of the Governing Body may decide it right to make a charge.  Each incident will be dealt with on its own merit and at their discretion. 

The Executive Headteacher, School Business Manager, Finance Committee or Governing Body may remit in full or part charges in respect of a pupil, if it feels it is reasonable in the circumstances.

Exceptions

The Executive Headteacher, School Business Manager, Finance Committee or Governing Body may decide not to levy charges in respect of a particular activity, if it feels it is reasonable in the circumstances.

Scale of Charges

These will be approved by the Governing Body on an annual basis.

Complaints Policy and Procedure

Policy Aim and Statement

 

This Complaints Policy helps underpin the mission statement of Lynch Hill School Primary Academy (“the School”).  Its aim is to ensure that a concern, difficulty or complaint is managed sympathetically, efficiently and at the appropriate level and resolved as soon as possible.  Doing so is good practice, fair to those concerned and helps to promote parents’ and students’ confidence in the School’s ability to safeguard and promote welfare.  The School will try to resolve every concern, difficulty or complaint in a positive way with the aim of putting right a matter which may have gone wrong and, where necessary, reviewing the School’s systems and procedures in the light of the matters raised.

 

The School needs to know as soon as possible if there is any cause for dissatisfaction.  The School recognises that a concern or difficulty which is not resolved quickly and fairly can soon become a cause of resentment, which can be damaging to the relationship between the School and the parent and student, and can also have a detrimental effect upon the School’s ethos and culture.  Parents and students should never feel – or be made to feel – that raising a concern, difficulty or complaint will adversely affect the student’s future at the School, or place the student at a disadvantage in any way. 

 

Application

 

The School is an academy and is therefore governed by the Education (Independent School Standards) (England) Regulations 2010 (as amended) (“the Regulations”).  This Complaints Policy has been formulated to comply with Schedule 1, Part 7 of the Regulations (as well as equality legislation and the rules of natural justice).  In the case of any variance between the procedure outlined in this Complaints Policy and the Regulations, the procedure outlined in the Regulations will apply.

 

This Complaints Policy applies to all concerns and complaints of the parents of students at the School, other than those involving child protection issues, or relating to admissions, exclusions and SEN, for which there are separate statutory procedures.  Where a complaint is made against a member of staff, depending upon the nature and seriousness of the complaint, the matter may be dealt with under separate HR procedures which are strictly confidential, rather than under this Complaints Policy.

 

This Complaints Policy distinguishes between a concern or difficulty, which can usually be resolved informally, and a formal complaint which will require further investigation.

 

 

The Rules of Natural Justice

 

Simply put, the rules of natural justice relate to fairness.  The School will ensure that all concerns, difficulties or complaint are dealt with in accordance with the following principles:

 

·      All parties will be provided with all information and documentation pertinent to the matters raised;

·      All parties will be given the opportunity to prepare and present their case and respond to the other parties involved;

·      All persons investigating and making decisions in relation to the matters raised will be impartial and will do so without bias (or apparent bias) to any party involved;

·      All decisions made will be made on a balanced and considered assessment of the information before him or her only;

·      All decisions made will be based upon logical conclusions, and not based on mere speculation or suspicion;

·      All decisions made will be supported by detailed reasons which will be disclosed to all parties involved.

 

 

Equality Act 2010

 

The School will deal with concerns, difficulties and complaints in accordance with its duty under the Equality Act 2010 to have due regard to the need to:

 

·      Eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and other conduct prohibited by the Equality Act 2010;

 

·      Advance equality of opportunity between those who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who do not, by having regard to the need to:

o    remove or minimise disadvantages connected to a relevant protected characteristic; and

o    take steps to meet the different needs of those sharing a relevant protected characteristic; and

o    encourage those who share a relevant protected characteristic to participate in school life and activities in which participation is disproportionately low;

 

·      Foster good relations between those who share a relevant protected characteristic and those  who do not, by having regard to the need to:

o    tackle prejudice; and

o    promote understanding;

 

“Relevant protected characteristics” includes sex, race, disability, religion or belief, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity and (in the case of persons who are not students) age.

 

In addition, the School will comply with its duty to make the following reasonable adjustments for persons with a disability:

 

·      Where a provision, criterion or practice places a disabled person at a substantial  disadvantage compared to person who is not disabled, reasonable steps must be taken to avoid that disadvantage;

 

·      Where a disabled person would, but for the provision of an auxiliary aid, be placed at a substantial disadvantage compared with a person who is not disabled, reasonable steps must be taken to provide the auxiliary aid. 

 

An auxiliary aid can be a piece of equipment or a service.

 

If a Complainant or other person involved in the complaints procedure requires an interpreter, a signer or any other assistance at meetings or at a Complaint Panel Hearing, they should let the School know immediately.

 

Further details can be found in the School’s Equality and Cohesion Policy.

 

 

Terms Used

 

For the purpose of this Complaints Policy, a “parent” includes the natural or adoptive parent of a student, irrespective of whether they are or ever have been married, whether they are separated or divorced, whether the student lives with them, whether the father has parental responsibility for the student or whether they have contact with the student.

 

A “parent” will also include a non-parent who has parental responsibility for a student, an adult non-parent with whom the student lives, and an adult who is involved in the day-to-day care of the student (for example, collecting or dropping off the student from school).

 

Any reference to a “student” will also include a prospective or former student of the School.

 

A person making a complaint will be referred to as a “Complainant” throughout this Complaints Policy.

 

 

Procedure

 

The School’s complaints procedure consists of four stages:

 

·      Stage 1 – Concerns and difficulties, dealt with informally;

 

·      Stage 2 – Complaints formally investigated by the Headteacher (or designate);

 

·      Stage 3 – Complaints formally reviewed by the Chair of Governors (or designate);

 

·      Stage 4 – Complaint Panel Hearing.

 

 

Time Limits

 

The School aims to resolve concerns, difficulties and complaints in a timely manner.  Time limits for each stage of the procedure are set out under each individual stage.  For the purposes of this Complaints Policy, a "school day" is defined as a weekday during term time, when the School is open to children.  The definition of "school day" excludes weekends, school holidays and bank holidays.  For the avoidance of doubt, term dates are published on the School’s website, and information about term dates is made available to parents and students periodically.

 

Although every effort will be made by the School to comply with the time limits specified under each stage of the procedure, it may not always be possible to do so, for example due to the complexity or number of matters raised, or due to the unavailability of the Complainant to attend a meeting, if offered.  In all cases, where a time limit cannot be complied with, the School will write to the Complainant within the specified time limit, setting out the reasons why the time limit cannot be complied with, and confirming the new time limit which will apply.

 

 

Complaints against the Headteacher

 

If a complaint is about the conduct of the Headteacher, the Chair of Governors will investigate the complaint under Stage 2 of this Complaints Policy instead of the Headteacher.  The Vice-Chair of Governors will review the complaint under Stage 3 of this Complaints Policy instead of the Chair of Governors.

 

 

Complaints against the Chair of Governors

 

If a complaint is about the conduct of the Chair of Governors, the Headteacher will consider the complaint under Stage 2 of this Complaints Policy as normal, and the Vice-Chair of Governors will review the complaint under Stage 3 of this Complaints Policy instead of the Chair of Governors.

 

 

Late Complaints

 

Where a complaint is submitted more than six months after the incident or event (or where the complaint relates to a series of incidents or events, more than six months from the date of the latest incident or event), the School reserves the right to refuse to investigate the complaint under this Complaints Policy if it appears reasonable and fair to do so, having regard to the circumstances surrounding the complaint.

 

Where the School decides that a complaint which was submitted late will not be investigated, the School will write to the Complainant notifying them of the decision within 5 school days of the complaint being received. 

 

If the Complainant is unhappy with the decision not to investigate a complaint which was submitted late, the Complainant may write to the Chair of Governors at the School asking for the decision to be reviewed.  The Chair of Governors will be provided with all documentation relating to the complaint, together with the letter from the School to the Complainant, and will review the decision not to investigate the complaint.  The Chair of Governors will not investigate the complaint itself during this review. 

 

The Chair of Governors will write to the Complainant with the outcome of the review within 10 school days of the date that the letter from the Complainant seeking the review was received, and provide the School with a copy of the letter. 

 

If the Chair of Governors quashes the decision not to investigate the complaint, it will be referred to the School to be dealt with under this Complaints Policy in the usual way.

 

If the Chair of Governors upholds the decision not to investigate the complaint, the Complainant may refer the concern or complaint to the Education Funding Agency using the procedure stated towards the end of this Complaints Policy.

 

In exceptional circumstances, the Chair of Governors can delegate the responsibility for the review to the Vice-Chair of Governors.

 

 

Vexatious or Repeated Complaints

 

There may be occasions when, despite a complaint being considered under all stages in this Complaints Policy, the Complainant persists in making the same complaint to the School.  There may also be occasions when a Complainant raises unreasonable persistent complaints or raises complaints about matters which do not affect them.  There may also be occasions when a complaint is made about a matter which is clearly so trivial that it would be a waste of the School’s resources to deal with it under the formal stages of the procedure. 

 

In all of these cases, the School reserves the right to regard the complaint as vexatious and/or repeated and to refuse to investigate it under the procedure in this Complaints Policy, if it appears reasonable and fair to do so, having regard to the circumstances surrounding the complaint.

 

Where the School decides that a complaint is vexatious and/or repeated and will not be investigated, the School will write to the Complainant within 5 school days of the complaint being raised to notify them of the decision. 

 

If the Complainant is unhappy with the decision not to investigate a vexatious and/or repeated complaint, they may write to the Chair of Governors to ask for the decision to be reviewed.  The Chair of Governors will be provided with all documentation relating to the current complaint and any previous complaints which were relevant to the decision, together with the letter from the School to the Complainant, and will review the decision not to investigate the complaint.  The Chair of Governors will not investigate the complaint itself during this review. 

 

The Chair of Governors will write to the Complainant with the outcome of the review within 10 school days of the date that the letter from the Complainant seeking the review was received.

 

If the Chair of Governors quashes the decision not to investigate the concern or complaint, it will be referred to the School to be dealt with under the procedure in this Complaints Policy in the usual way.

 

If the Chair of Governors upholds the decision not to investigate the concern or complaint, the Complainant may refer the concern or complaint to the Education Funding Agency using the procedure stated towards the end of this Complaints Policy.

 

In exceptional circumstances, the Chair of Governors can delegate the responsibility for the review to the Vice-Chair of Governors.

 

See ‘Response to spurious complainant’ letter in Complaints Procedure

 

 

Anonymous Complaints

 

The School will not investigate anonymous complaints under the procedure in this Complaints Policy.  Anonymous complaints will be referred to the Headteacher who will decide what, if any, action should be taken.

 

 

Data Protection Act 1998 and Freedom of Information Act 2000

 

Complaints sometimes include requests for information or documentation.  Such requests will either be a “subject access request” under the Data Protection Act 1998 (where the information requested relates to an identifiable individual) or a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (where the information is general and not related to an identifiable individual).

 

Subject access requests under the Data Protection Act 1998 must be responded to within forty calendar days, and requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 must be responded to within twenty working days, however the School will aim to provide this information as soon as practicable (where the request is valid and the Complainant is lawfully entitled to the information or documentation) in accordance with the rules of natural justice.

 

Further details can be found in the School’s Freedom of Information Policy.

 

 

Resolution Principles

 

It is in everyone’s interest that concerns, difficulties and complaints are resolved to the satisfaction of all parties at the earliest possible stage.  The way in which the concern, difficulty or complaint is dealt with after the matter is first raised by the Complainant can be crucial in determining whether the complaint will escalate.  To that end, members of staff will be periodically made aware of the procedure in this Complaints Policy, so that they will know what to do when a concern or difficulty is raised with them.

 

At each stage of the complaints procedure, the investigator will consider how the complaint may be resolved.  In considering how a complaint may be resolved, the investigator will give due regard to the seriousness of the complaint.  It may be appropriate in order to bring the complaint to a resolution for the investigator to offer:

 

·     An explanation;

 

·     An apology;

 

·     Reassurance that steps have been taken to prevent a recurrence of events which led to the complaint;

 

·     Reassurance that the School will undertake a review of its policies and procedures in light of the complaint.

 

None of the above will constitute an admission of negligence or an acceptance of liability on behalf of the School.

 

 

Outcome Principles

 

Examples of outcomes include:

 

·      There was insufficient evidence to reach a conclusion, so the complaint cannot be upheld;

 

·      The investigation did not substantiate the matters raised, so the complaint cannot be upheld;

 

·      The complaint was substantiated in part or full.  A description should be given of the remedial action being taken by the School as a consequence of the complaint.  Details of any disciplinary action or sanctions to be taken against a member of staff are strictly confidential and cannot be disclosed.

 

·      The matter has been fully investigated and, as a consequence, further confidential procedures are being pursued.  Details of any disciplinary action or sanctions to be taken against a member of staff are strictly confidential and cannot be disclosed.

 

 

Retention of Records

 

A full written record will be maintained centrally at the School of all concerns, difficulties and complaints, whether they are resolved informally under Stage 1, or dealt with formally under Stages 2 to 4. 

 

Records of concerns, difficulties or complaints will be destroyed when the student to which they relate reaches the age of twenty four years or, in the case of a student with a statement of special educational needs, until the student reaches the age of thirty years.

 

 

Confidentiality

 

All correspondence, statements and records relating to individual complaints will be kept confidential except where access is requested by the Secretary of State, a school inspector, or under another legal authority. 

 

 

Publication

 

This Complaints Policy has been ratified by the Governing Body, and will be reviewed annually.  It will be published on the School’s website and provided to parents and students on request by the School’s office.  A copy of this Complaints Policy will be provided to a Complainant when a concern, difficulty or complaint is first raised.

 

 

Stage 1:         Concerns and Difficulties

 

1.         Concerns:

 

The School expects that most concerns and difficulties, where a parent or student seeks intervention, reconsideration or some other action to be taken, can be resolved informally.  Examples might include dissatisfaction about some aspect of teaching or pastoral care, allocation of privileges or responsibilities, a timetable clash, an issue with the School’s systems or equipment, or a billing error.

 

2.         Notification:

 

The concern or difficulty should be raised as follows:

 

·      Education issues – if the matter relates to the classroom, the curriculum or special educational needs, the Complainant should speak to the Year Leader, Deputy Headteacher or Head of School, as appropriate.

 

·      Pastoral care – for concerns relating to matters outside the classroom, the Complainant should speak to the Year Leader, Deputy Headteacher or Head of School, as appropriate.

 

·      Disciplinary matters – a problem over any disciplinary action taken or a sanction imposed should be raised with the member of staff who imposed it in the first instance.  If not resolved, the Complainant should speak to the relevant Year Leader, Deputy Headteacher or Head of School, as appropriate.

 

·      Financial and administrative matters – a query relating to fees, extras or other administrative matters should be raised by the Complainant with the Business Manager.

 

·      An issue with a specific member of staff – often, the best way to resolve an issue with a specific member of staff is to raise it with that member of staff directly, so that they are given the opportunity to address and resolve the concern or difficulty before it becomes a formal complaint.  If the Complainant feels uncomfortable doing this, however, the issue should be raised with the Head of School or Executive Headteacher.

 

See ‘Meeting Request Form’ on the Complaints Procedure.

 

Should a concern or difficulty be raised with a member of staff who feels that they are not the best person to be dealing with it, they will refer it to the Executive Headteacher or other designated member of staff as appropriate. 

 

If a concern or difficulty is raised with a member of staff who feels that it raises serious issues which should be dealt with as a formal complaint immediately, the member of staff will tell the Complainant that they should put their complaint in writing to the Executive Headteacher under Stage 2 of this Complaints Policy.  If the Complainant would prefer to complete a form instead of writing a letter, the Complainant can complete the Complaint Form contained in Appendix 1 of this Complaints Policy to submit their complaint formally.

 

3.         Unresolved Concerns and Difficulties

 

The School will aim to resolve a concern or difficulty within fifteen school days of the date that it was raised.  Where a concern or difficulty has not been resolved by informal means within this time limit from the date that it was raised, the complainant can submit the matters raised as a formal complaint under Stage 2 of this Complaints Policy.

 

4.         Record of Concerns and Difficulties

 

The member of staff dealing with a concern or difficulty will make a written record of the issues raised, the action taken and, if applicable, the resolution reached, which will be retained in a central record.  Further information in relation to the retention of records can be found earlier on in this Complaints Policy.

 

 

Stage 2:         Formal Complaint to the Headteacher

 

5.         Notification

 

A concern or difficulty raised under Stage 1 of this Complaints Policy which remains unresolved after fifteen school days, or a serious matter which requires formal investigation from the outset, should be set out in writing and sent to the Headteacher at the School.  Should a formal written complaint be received by another member of the School’s staff, they will immediately be passed on to the Headteacher.

 

The Complainant should clearly set out the matters in dispute, the relevant dates, the full names of the persons involved and what the Complainant believes the School should do to resolve the complaint.  Any documentation relied upon by the Complainant should be attached to the formal complaint.

 

See ‘Formal Complaint Form’ on the Complaints Procedure

 

6.         Acknowledgement

 

The formal complaint will be acknowledged in writing within five school days of receipt.  The acknowledgement letter will confirm the date that the formal complaint was received, the action to be taken and the specified time limit.  See ‘Acknowledgement of receipt of formal complaint and invitation to meet letter’ and the ‘Acknowledgements of receipt of formal complaint and advising complainant that the matter is being dealt with under a confidential school procedure’ on the Complaints Procedure

 

7.         Investigation

 

The Headteacher will be provided with the records of the Stage 1 informal procedure (if applicable) within five school days of receipt of the formal complaint, and will then proceed to investigate the complaint.  This will involve obtaining and considering all documentation held by the School which is relevant to the complaint.  If further information is required from the Complainant, this may be requested from them over the telephone or in writing.

 

The Headteacher will speak to the persons who were involved in the matters raised by the Complainant.  Students will only be spoken to with an independent member of staff present to support them.  Where there is an issue about the conduct of a member of staff, that member of staff will be offered the option of having another member of staff present.  Other members of staff will be spoken to alone.  A written record of the conversation will be made, and the student or member of staff spoken to will be asked to read, sign and date the written record to confirm that it is accurate.  In the case of students, the accompanying independent member of staff will also be asked to sign and date the record of the conversation.

 

If the Headteacher deems it to be appropriate in relation to the matters raised, the Complainant will be offered a meeting to discuss the issues raised.  This may take place at the beginning of the investigation to clarify any matters which are unclear, or after the investigation has taken place with the aim of reaching an amicable resolution.

 

8.         Outcome

 

The Headteacher will write to the Complainant confirming the outcome of the investigation within twenty school days from the date that the complaint was received.  The letter will set out the individual matters raised by the Complainant, the findings made by the Headteacher during the course of the investigation, and the conclusion reached. 

 

The letter will inform the Complainant that, if they are unsatisfied with the outcome of the Stage 2 investigation, they should write to the Clerk to the Governors within five school days of receipt of the letter asking for their complaint and the Stage 2 investigation to be reviewed by the Chair of Governors under Stage 3 of this Complaints Policy. See ‘Notification of Decision Regarding Formal Complaint’ letter on the Complaints procedure

 

Where the complaint was received during a school holiday or within twenty days from the end of a term or half term, the Headteacher will endeavour to expedite the investigation wherever possible.

 

9.         Delegation

 

In appropriate cases, the Headteacher may delegate the complaint to a member of the Senior Leadership Team to deal with in accordance with the procedure outlined above.

 

 

Stage 3:         Review by the Chair of Governors

 

10.       Notification

 

If the Complainant is unsatisfied with the outcome of the complaint under Stage 2 of this Complaints Policy, the Complainant may write to the Clerk to the Governors asking for the complaint to be reviewed by the Chair of Governors, within five school days of receiving the letter confirming the outcome following Stage 2.  

 

The Complainant should not repeat the matters raised in their original letter or attach documentation already provided, but should clearly set out how and why the Complainant does not accept the findings made under Stage 2.  

 

See ‘Complaint Review Request Form’ on the Complaints Procedure

 

11.       Acknowledgement

 

The Complainant’s letter will be acknowledged within five school days of receipt.  The acknowledgement letter will confirm the date that the formal complaint was received, the action to be taken and the specified time limit.

 

12.       Review

 

The Chair of Governors will be provided with all documentation relating to the complaint within five school days of receipt of the letter requesting a review under Stage 3, including the record of the Stage 1 informal procedure (if applicable), the original letter of complaint or Complaint Form, any documentation provided by the Complainant with their complaint, all investigation records under Stage 2, and the letter of outcome under Stage 2.

 

The Chair of Governors will review all of the documentation received and consider the matters raised in complaint and the investigation carried out under Stage 2.  The Chair of Governors will only speak to the persons involved in the matters raised to clarify matters which were not confirmed during the Stage 2 investigation, if believed necessary.  Where the Chair of Governors does speak to a student or a member of staff whose conduct is in issue, they will be accompanied as outlined under Stage 2.

 

If the Chair of Governors deems it to be appropriate in relation to the matters raised, the Complainant will be offered a meeting to discuss the issues raised.  If a meeting is deemed appropriate, it will usually take place after the review has been completed with the aim of reaching a mutually acceptable resolution.

 

13.       Outcome

 

The Chair of Governors will write to the Complainant confirming the outcome of the review within twenty school days from the date that the request for a review was received.  The letter will set out whether the Chair of Governors agrees with the findings and conclusion under Stage 2, and give reasons, as well as responding to any criticisms of the Stage 2 investigation. 

 

The letter will inform the Complainant that, if they are unsatisfied with the outcome of the Stage 3 review, they should write to the Clerk to the Governors within five school days of receipt of the letter requesting a Complaint Panel Hearing under Stage 4 of this Complaints Policy.

 

Where the request for a review was received during a school holiday or within twenty days from the end of a term or half term, the Chair of Governors will endeavour to expedite the review wherever possible.

 

14.       Delegation

 

In appropriate cases, the Chair of Governors may delegate the review to the Vice-Chair of Governors to deal with in accordance with the procedure outlined above.

 

 

Stage 4:     Complaint Panel Hearing

 

15.       Notification

 

If the Complainant is unsatisfied with the outcome of the review under Stage 3 of this Complaints Policy, the Complainant may write to the Clerk to the Governors requesting a Complaint Panel Hearing.  The Complainant should write to the Clerk to the Governors within five school days of receiving the letter confirming the outcome following Stage 3. 

 

The Complainant should not repeat the matters raised in their original letter or attach documentation already provided, but should clearly set out how and why the Complainant does not accept the findings made under Stages 2 and 3. 

 

 

16.       The Complaint Panel

 

The Complaint Panel will consist of three persons appointed by or on behalf of the Governing Body by the Clerk to the Governors.  None of the three Complaint Panel members will have been involved in the matters which gave rise to the complaint, have been involved in dealing with the complaint previously or have any detailed prior knowledge of the complaint.  Two of the Complaint Panel members may (but do not have to) be Governors.  The third Complaint Panel member will be independent of the management and running of the School, i.e. they will not be a member of staff or a Governor,  and will not be linked to the School in another way, for example as a parent of a student at the School.  The independent Complaint Panel member will be the Chair of the Complaint Panel.

 

The Department for Education has issued guidance in relation to the appointment of the independent Complaint Panel member as follows:

 

Whilst we do not wish to be prescriptive about who schools should appoint as an independent person, our general view is that people who have held a position of responsibility and who are used to analysing evidence and putting forward balanced arguments would be suitable.  Examples of persons likely to be suitable are serving or retired business people, civil servants, heads or senior members of staff at other schools, people with a legal background and retired members of the police force...  Schools will of course have their own views.

 

17.       Attendance

 

The Complainant may attend the Complaint Panel Hearing, and may be accompanied by another person.  For the avoidance of doubt, the Complainant’s supporter will be present for moral support only and will not play any part in the proceedings, unless invited to do so by the Chair of the Complaint Panel, entirely at his or her discretion and for a good reason.  The Complaint Panel Hearing is not a legal hearing and it is not appropriate for either the Complainant or the School to be legally represented.

 

The School will be represented at the Complaint Panel Hearing by the person who dealt with the complaint under Stage 3, which will usually be the Chair of Governors.  This person will be referred to as the “School’s Representative” for the purposes of Stage 4.

 

The Complaint Panel Hearing will be minuted by the Clerk to the Complaint Panel, who will usually be the Clerk to the Governors.

 

18.       Convening the Complaint Panel Hearing

 

After selecting the Complaint Panel members, the Clerk to the Governors will write to the Complainant within five school days acknowledging receipt of their request and informing them of the names of the Complaint Panel members.  If the Complainant objects to any of the named persons being appointed to the Complaint Panel, they should notify the Clerk to the Governors within three school days of receipt of the letterFair consideration will be given to any bona fide objection to a particular member of the Complaint Panel.

 

The Clerk to the Governors will liaise with the Complaint Panel, the Complainant and the School’s Representative to agree a mutually convenient date for the Complaint Panel Hearing, which will usually take place within twenty school days of receipt of the Complainant’s request, unless there are exceptional circumstances. 

 

The Clerk to the Governors will write to the Complainant confirming the date of the Complaint Panel Hearing within five school days of the date that the acknowledgement letter was sent (or the date that the new Complaint Panel member was selected, if an objection was received and upheld).  If the Complaint Panel Hearing will not take place within twenty school days of receipt of the Complainant’s request, the letter will set out the exceptional circumstances involved.

 

19.       Documentation

 

The Clerk to the Governors will forward a copy of all paperwork relating to the complaint (consisting of the record of the Stage 1 informal procedure (if applicable), the original letter of complaint or Complaint Form, any documentation provided by the Complainant with their complaint, all investigation records under Stage 2 with the letter of outcome, all review records under Stage 3 with the letter of outcome, and the Complainant’s letter requesting a Complaint Panel Hearing and accompanying documents) to the Complainant, the School’s Representative and the three Complaint Panel members. 

 

The names of individuals other than the Complainant, the Complainant’s family, members of the School’s staff and Governors, will be redacted and replaced with a letter relevant to that particular individual (for example “Jane Brown” will be replaced with “A” throughout, “John Jones” will be replaced with B throughout) unless they have provided their written consent for their name to be disclosed.

 

If the Complainant wishes the Complaint Panel to consider any additional information, they should forward this documentation to the Clerk to the Governors to arrive at least five school days before the Complaint Panel Hearing, to enable the Clerk to the Governors to forward it to the School’s Representative and the Complaint Panel members.

 

20.       Witnesses

 

The Chair of the Complaint Panel will decide, at his or her absolute discretion, which witnesses will be permitted to attend the Complaint Panel Hearing to give a verbal statement rather than relying on a written statement or record of meeting which have been signed by the witness.

 

If the Complainant wishes to rely on the account of a witness, they should ask the witness to write down, sign and date their account and forward it to the Clerk to the Governors at least five school days before the Complaint Panel Hearing, to enable the Clerk to the Governors to forward it to the School’s Representative and the Complaint Panel members.

 

Witnesses under the age of eighteen other than the Complainant’s own family will only be allowed to attend the Complaint Panel Hearing at the discretion of the Chair of the Complaint Panel, and then only if they are accompanied by one of their parents or carers.  Any written accounts provided by the Complainant relating to witnesses under the age of eighteen must be signed and dated by the witness and one of the witness’ parents or carers.

 

Members of staff of the School involved in the matters which gave rise to the complaint will usually have provided a signed written account or have signed a note of a meeting during the previous stages, which will be forwarded to all parties with the other complaint documentation in the usual way.  Members of staff will not usually be required to attend the Complaint Panel Hearing to give a verbal statement unless their conduct is in issue or their account is contentious and the rules of natural justice dictate that the Complainant should be allowed to ask that member of staff questions.

 

21.       Procedure at the Complaint Panel Hearing

 

The Complaint Panel Hearing will be conducted as follows:

 

·      The Clerk to the Complaint Panel will greet the Complainant, the Complainant’s supporter and the School’s Representative and welcome them into the room where the Complaint Panel has convened (any witnesses will remain outside of the room until they are called in to give their account);

 

·      The Complainant will be invited by the Complaint Panel to give an account of their complaint;

 

·      The School’s Representative will be invited to ask the Complainant questions, if any;

 

·      The Complaint Panel will ask the Complainant questions, if any;

 

·      At the discretion of the Chair of the Complaint Panel, the Complainant’s first witness will be invited into the room to give an account of what they saw or know;

 

·      The School’s Representative will be invited to ask the Complainant’s witness questions, if any;

 

·      The Complaint Panel will ask the Complainant’s witness questions, if any;

 

·      The Complainant’s witness will be asked to leave the room;

 

·      If the Complainant has any further relevant witnesses, at the discretion of the Chair of the Complaint Panel, they will be invited into the room individually to provide their accounts and be questioned as outlined above;

 

·      The School’s Representative will be invited by the Complaint Panel to respond to the complaint and make representations on behalf of the School;

 

·      The Complainant will be invited to ask the School’s Representative questions, if any;

 

·      The Complaint Panel will ask the School’s Representative questions, if any;

 

·      At the discretion of the Chair of the Complaint Panel, the School’s relevant first witness will be invited into the room to give an account or what they saw or know;

 

·      The Complainant will be invited to ask the School’s witness questions, if any;

 

·      The Complaint Panel will ask the School’s witness questions, if any;

 

·      The School’s witness will be asked to leave the room;

 

·      If the School has any further relevant witnesses, at the discretion of the Chair of the Complaint Panel, they will be invited into the room individually to provide their accounts and be questioned, as outlined above;

 

·      The Complainant will be invited by the Complaint Panel to summarise their complaint;

 

·      The School’s Representative will be invited by the Complaint Panel to summarise their response to the complaint and the School’s stance;

 

·      The Complaint Panel Hearing will conclude and the Complainant and the School’s Representative will be asked to leave.

 

22.       The Complaint Panel’s Decision

 

The Complaint Panel will convene in private, either immediately after the Complaint Panel Hearing or on a subsequent date, and will consider all of the documentation and everything that they have heard at the Complainant Panel Hearing and make:

 

·      Findings of Fact

 

      The Complaint Panel will decide which facts are established to be true, on a balance of probabilities (i.e. more likely than not).  If a fact is not deemed relevant, the Complaint Panel will not consider it further.  The Complaint Panel will make a written record of the facts that have been established, those which have not been established and those which are not relevant, with their reasons for making these findings.

 

·      Recommendations

 

      The Complaint Panel will consider the facts which they have established and will make recommendations based upon them.  These recommendations may be aimed at achieving reconciliation between the parties (for example, a written apology), improving procedures or preventing a recurrence in the future.  The Complaint Panel will keep a written record of their recommendations, with reasons.

 

23.       Notification of the Complaint Panel’s Decision

 

The Clerk to the Governors will write within 10 school days of the Complaint Panel Hearing to the:

 

·      Complainant;

 

·      the School’s Representative;

 

·      Any person complained about;

 

The letter will identify each of the issues complained about, summarise how the Complaint Panel Hearing proceeded, and confirm each of the Complaint Panel’s findings of fact and recommendations, if any, with reasons.  The letter will also confirm that, if the Complainant believes that this Complaints Policy does not comply with the Regulations, or that the School has not followed the procedure outlined in this Complaints Policy, the Complainant may refer their complaint to the Education Funding Agency for further consideration.

 

The Clerk to the Governors will also ensure that a copy of the Complaint Panel’s findings and recommendations are made available on the School’s premises for inspection by the Trust, the Local Governing Body and the Executive Headteacher.

 

24.       Factors for the Complaint Panel to Consider

 

·      It is important that the Complaint Panel Hearing is independent and impartial, and that it is seen to be so.  No person may sit on the Complaint Panel if they have had a prior involvement in the matters which gave rise to the complaint, in dealing with the complaint in the previous stages, or have a prior detailed knowledge of the complaint;

 

·      The aim of the Complaint Panel Hearing, which must be held in private, will always be to resolve the complaint and achieve reconciliation between the School and the Complainant.  However, it has to be recognised that the Complainant may not be satisfied with the outcome if the Complaint Panel does not find wholly in their favour.  It may only be possible to establish the facts and make recommendations which will satisfy the Complainant that his or her complaint has been taken seriously;

 

·      An effective Complaint Panel will acknowledge that many Complainants feel nervous and inhibited in a formal setting.  Parents often feel emotional when discussing an issue that affects their child. The Chair of the Complaint Panel will ensure that the Complaint Panel Hearing is as welcoming as possible, while ensuring that it is procedurally fair to all parties.  The layout of the room will set the tone and care is needed to ensure the setting is informal and not substantially adversarial;

 

·      Extra care needs to be taken when the Complainant is a child, or there are child witnesses present.  Care should be taken to ensure that the child does not feel intimidated.  The Complaint Panel should be aware of the views of the child and give them equal consideration to those of the adults present.  Where the child’s parent is the Complainant, it would be helpful to give the parent the opportunity to suggest which parts of the hearing, if any, the child should attend, with the Chair retaining discretion;

 

·      The Complaint Panel should ensure that they are familiar with the complaints procedure in advance of the Complaint Panel Hearing.

 

The Chair of the Complaint Panel will play a key part at the Complaint Panel Hearing, ensuring that:

 

·      The remit of the Complaint Panel is explained to the parties and each party has the opportunity of making representations without undue interruption;

 

·      All of the issues raised in the complaint are addressed;

 

·      Key findings of fact are made, on a balance of probabilities ;

 

·      Each party treats the other with respect and courtesy;

 

·      The Complaint Panel is open minded and acts independently of the School;

 

·      No member of the Complaint Panel has a vested interest in the outcome of the proceedings;

 

·      Each side is given the opportunity to state their case and ask questions;

 

·      All written material is seen by all parties.  If a new issue arises during the course of the Complaint Panel Hearing, it would be useful to give all parties the opportunity to consider and comment on it.

 

See ‘REVIEW OUTCOME NOTIFICATION’ letter on the Complaints Procedure

 

Referral to the Education Funding Agency

 

Once a complaint has been through all the stages of this Complaints Policy, if the Complainant believes that this Complaints Policy does not comply with the Regulations, or that the School has not followed the procedure in this Complaints Policy, the Complainant can refer the complaint to the Education Funding Agency for consideration.

 

The Complainant can find further information about referring a complaint to the Education Funding Agency by pasting this page into an Internet browser:

 

http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/leadership/schoolperformance/b00212240/making-complaint-school/complaints-free-schools-academies

 

The Complainant can refer their complaint to the Education Funding Agency by completing an online form by pasting this page into an Internet browser:

 

https://www.education.gov.uk/schools/leadership/schoolperformance/school-complaints-form

 

The Complainant should be aware that the Education Funding Agency will not usually investigate the complaint itself, or interfere with the findings of the Complaint Panel, unless the decision made was manifestly unreasonable.

 

 

 

General Principles:

o   This procedure is intended to allow you to raise a concern or complaint relating to the school, or the services that it provides

 

o   An anonymous concern or complaint will not be investigated under this procedure, unless there are exceptional circumstances

 

o   To enable a proper investigation, concerns or complaints should be brought to the attention of the school as soon as possible. In general, any matter raised more than 3 months after the event being complained of, will not be considered.

Raising a concern or complaint Informal Stage

It is normally appropriate to communicate directly with the member of staff concerned. This may be by letter, by telephone, or in person by appointment requested via the school office. Many concerns can be resolved by simple clarification or the provision of information and it is anticipated that most complaints will be resolved by this informal stage.

In the case of serious concerns it may be appropriate to address them directly to the Head of School, the Executive Headteacher (or to the Chair of the trust, if the complaint is about the Executive Head Teacher).

If you are uncertain about who to contact, please seek advice from the school office or the Clerk to the governing body.

Formal Stage

If your concern or complaint is not resolved at the informal stage you may choose to put the complaint in writing and pass it to the Head Teacher, who will be responsible for ensuring that it is investigated appropriately. If the complaint is about the Head Teacher, your complaint should be passed to the Clerk to the governing body, for the attention of the Chair of the governing body.

A Complaint Form is provided to assist you.

You should include details which might assist the investigation, such as names of potential witnesses, dates and times of events, and copies of relevant documents.

It is very important that you include a clear statement of the actions that you would like the school to take to resolve your concern. Without this, it is much more difficult to proceed.

Please pass the completed form, in a sealed envelope to the school office. The envelope should be addressed to the Head Teacher, or to the Clerk to the governing body, as appropriate.

The Head Teacher (or Chair) may invite you to a meeting to clarify your concerns and to explore the possibility of an informal resolution. If you accept that invitation, you may be accompanied by a friend, if you wish, to assist you in explaining the nature of your concerns.

It is possible that your complaint will be resolved through a meeting with the Head Teacher (or Chair). If not, arrangements will be made for the matter to be fully investigated, using the appropriate procedure. In any case you should learn in writing, usually within 5 days of the school receiving your formal complaint, of how the school intends to proceed. This notification should include an indication of the anticipated timescale.

 

Any investigation will begin as soon as possible and when it has been concluded, you will be informed in writing of its conclusion.

If you are not satisfied with the manner in which the process has been followed, you may request that the governing body reviews the process followed by the school, in handling the complaint. Any such request must be made in writing to the clerk to the governing body, within 10 school days of receiving notice of the outcome, and include a statement specifying any perceived failures to follow the procedure. The procedure described below will be followed. A Review Request form is provided for your convenience.

Review Process

Any review of the process followed by the school will be conducted by a panel of three members of the governing body. This will usually take place within 10 school days of receipt of your request.

The review will normally be conducted through a consideration of written submissions, but reasonable requests to make oral representations should be considered sympathetically.

Data Protection and Security

Download the document by clicking on the link below.

SEBMATDataProtectionandSecurityPolicyMarch2020.pdf

Equality Objectives and Policy

Lynch Hill School Primary Academy pays due regard to the Public Sector Equality Duty and as such we endeavour to:

  • Promote cultural development and understanding via a rich range of experiences, both in and beyond daily school life.
  • Ensure sufficient opportunities exist within the school curriculum to address issues of equality
  • Support children effectively to that tangible progress is made by all, including those in vulnerable groups
  • Monitor and respond in a timely fashion to any issues that arise where prejudice is considered to be a contributing factor.
  • Ensure that the school environment is accessible to all – pupils, staff parents and visitors.

Our Objectives this year are:

  1. Equalising opportunities
  2. Create SMART targets for EAL/EMA intervention
  3. Developing the Curriculum - Ensure that all subject areas reflect cultural diversity and respect for others.  Use multi cultural resources to ensure pupils enhance their understanding of different religions and cultures.  Make use of positive role models in the classroom to develop the self esteem of vulnerable groups.
  4. Creating a more collaborative community.  Respect of all for diversity within the community – local, national and international.

The full Equality and Cohesion policy can be downloaded here

Exclusion Policy

Introduction

 Good discipline is essential to ensure that all pupils can benefit from the opportunities provided by education. The school’s behaviour policy outlines expectations and key strategies for promoting good behaviour. The Government supports headteachers in using exclusion as a sanction where it is warranted. However, exclusion should only be used as a last resort, in response to a serious breach, or persistent breaches, of the school's behaviour policy; and where allowing the pupil to remain in school would seriously harm the education or welfare of the pupil or others in the school.

This policy is implemented in line with guidance from Slough Borough Council (SBC)) and the Department for Education (DfE).

Key Guidance and regulations:

·                         Exclusion from maintained schools, Academies and pupil referral units in England - A guide for those with legal responsibilities in relation to exclusion (DfE 2012)

·                         The School Discipline (Pupil Exclusions and Reviews) (England) Regulations 2012

·                         Slough Borough Schools Access Officer

Principles

·                     Exclusion is a sanction used by the school only in cases deemed as serious breaches of the School Behaviour Policy. A student may be at risk of exclusion from school for:

-                      Verbal or physical assault of a student or adult;

-                      Persistent and repetitive disruption of lessons and other students’ learning;

-                      Extreme misbehaviour which is deemed outside the remit of the normal range of sanctions.

 

·                     A Fixed Term Exclusion from the school can only be authorised by the Executive Headteacher or Head of School / Deputy Headteacher acting on their behalf. If none are available to authorise the exclusion a decision should be deferred until the opportunity for authorisation is available.

·                     In the case of a Permanent Exclusion this can only be authorised by the Executive Headteacher and must only be done after consulting the Chair of Governors of the intention to impose this sanction, although the final decision rests with the Headteacher of the school.

·                     The school seeks to reduce the number of incidents leading to exclusions by promoting a positive atmosphere of mutual respect and discipline within the school.

·                     The school regularly monitors the number of Fixed Term Exclusions to ensure that no group of students is unfairly disadvantaged through their use and that any underlying needs of individuals are being fully met.

The Decision to Exclude

 Exclusions will be used sparingly and only if there are serious breaches of the schools behaviour policy or civil law; or if allowing the pupil to remain in school would be seriously detrimental to the education or welfare of the pupil or others.

Parents will be notified as soon as possible of the decision to exclude a student and the reason for the exclusion. This will be done on the day of the exclusion being authorised by either direct phone contact or a face-to-face meeting. A written confirmation of the reason(s) for the exclusion will be sent to parents the same day.

The Headteacher holds responsibility for taking the decision to permanently exclude a pupil. However in the absence of the Head teacher the Deputy or other senior teacher in charge may exclude a pupil for a fixed period.

A school will usually only permanently exclude a child as a last resort, after trying to improve the child's behaviour through other means. However, there are exceptional circumstances in which a headteacher may decide to permanently exclude a pupil because of ongoing issues or even for a 'one-off'’ incident.

In the case of a Permanent Exclusion parents will be notified by the Executive Headteacher in a face-to-face meeting.

The decision to exclude a pupil must be lawful, reasonable and fair. Care is taken not to discriminate against pupils on the basis of protected characteristics, such as disability or race. Particular consideration is given to the fair treatment of pupils from groups who are vulnerable to exclusion.  A student who has been excluded will have the reason for his/her exclusion explained to them by a member of staff so that they understand the nature of their misbehaviour.

Exclusion will not be used for minor offences or as a punishment for non-attendance.

Fixed Period exclusions may not exceed 45 days in any one year; generally at Lynch Hill these will be around 1-3 days in length.

Persistent poor behaviour at lunchtime may result in a fixed period exclusion which covers the lunchtime break. This is subject to the normal rights of appeal.

The local authority must provide full-time education from the sixth day of exclusion if the exclusion is permanent.  If the exclusion is for a fixed term, work will be provided by the school.

Procedures for Exclusion

 Following the decision to exclude a pupil, the Head teacher must:

·                         Inform the child’s parents or guardians their child has been excluded, the type and length of the exclusion and the reasons for it.

·                         Inform the parents in writing of their right to appeal to the Governing Body and to ask for an independent review panel to meet (see Appendix A)

·                         Inform the Local Authority the same day, by e-mail, of the exclusion followed up by more detailed information within the next four days.

·                         Provide systems for work to be set for the child to undertake at home during a fixed exclusion

·                         Draw attention to sources of free and impartial information, as laid out in DfE Exclusion Guidance s4.2, para 36

·                         Details of procedures and timescales are given in Appendix B

Students Returning from a Fixed Term Exclusion

All students returning from a Fixed Term Exclusion are required to attend a reintegration meeting, accompanied by a parent. This meeting will seek to establish practical ways in which further exclusion can be avoided and behaviour modified to acceptable standards in partnership between student, parent and school.

Procedures for permanent exclusion: Action by the Governing Body

 The Governing Body will nominate a pool of three to five governors, none of whom may be a member of staff, to serve as the Discipline Committee as the need arises. A clerk to the Discipline Committee will also be nominated. The quorum for the Committee is three members.

If the parents give notice that they wish to make representations, the governing body should arrange a meeting to discuss the exclusion as soon as is practicable according to set criteria (see table below for details). The meeting should be arranged at a time and place convenient for the parents within reason. All efforts should be made to provide an environment which avoids intimidation and excessive formality.  The governing body should advise parents and pupils that they may, if they wish, have someone of their own choice to accompany them and assist them at the meeting.

The meeting should serve for the purpose of enabling the parents to have their views heard and for the parents to hear the views of the school.

The decision of the meeting and the reason for the decision should be clearly communicated to the parents without delay.

 Appeals

All correspondence regarding an exclusion from the school will inform parents of their right to appeal to the Governing Body against the decision to exclude. This procedure is clearly set out in the statutory guidance. The person who should be contacted to initiate an appeal is the Clerk to the Governors.

 Relationship to other school policies

The Exclusion Policy should be read in tandem with the school’s Behaviour Policy as well as other relevant school policies, particularly the Inclusion Policy, Special Educational Needs Policy and the Equality & Diversity Policy. It also has a close inter-relationship with the Anti-Bullying Policy and Attendance Policy.

 

Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy

Reference to Statutory Framework

This policy has been developed in accordance with the principles established by the Children Act 1989; the Education Act 2002, and the Children Act 2004 and in line with government publications:

  • Keeping Children Safe in Education’, September 2018
  • ‘Information sharing’ Advice for practitioners providing safeguarding services to children, young people, parents and carer, March 2015
  • ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’, July 2018
  •  ‘What To Do If You Are Worried A Child Is Being Abused’, March 2015
  • ‘NICE Framework – when to suspect child maltreatment’, February 2014
  • Prevent duty guidance, July 2015

Mission Statement

‘This child centred approach is fundamental to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of every child. A child centred approach means keeping the child in focus when making decisions about their lives and working in partnership with them and their families.’

(Source: Working together to Safeguard Children 2018)

Our mission is to create a positive ethos where every child feels safe, secure and listened to. We promote a culture where staff and volunteers are encouraged to share concerns. Staff understand that in exceptional circumstances they may refer concerns directly to social care. We diligently support children who have been abused or who at risk of abuse. Safeguarding issues are explored as part of the curriculum.

Our policy applies to all staff, governors and volunteers working in the school and we ensure that we practice safe recruitment in checking the suitability of staff and volunteers who work with children.

We recognise that because of the day to day contact with children, school staff are well placed to observe the outward signs of abuse. The school will therefore:

  • Establish and maintain an environment where children feel secure, are encouraged to talk freely of their own choice, and are listened to.
  • Ensure that children know that there are adults in the school whom they could approach if they are worried.
  • Include opportunities in the curriculum for children to develop the skills they need to recognise and stay safe from abuse.

We recognise that children who are abused or witness violence may find it difficult to develop a sense of self-worth. They may feel helplessness, humiliation and some sense of blame. The school may be the only stable, secure and predictable element in the lives of children at risk. When at school their behaviour may be challenging and defiant or they may be withdrawn.

The school will endeavour to support the pupil through:

  • The content of the curriculum.
  • The school ethos which promotes a positive, supportive and secure environment and gives pupils a sense of being valued.
  • The school behaviour policy which is aimed at supporting vulnerable pupils in the school. The   school will ensure that the pupil knows that some behaviour is unacceptable but they are valued and not to be blamed for any abuse which has occurred.
  • The   implementation and reviewing of statutory policies that are relevant to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children
  • Liaison with other agencies that support the pupil such as Slough Children's Services Trust, Child and Adult Mental Health Service (CAMHS); the Educational Psychology Service, Social, Emotional Behaviour Outreach Service (SEBDOS)
  • Ensuring that where a pupil on the child protection register leaves the school, their information is transferred to the new school immediately and that the child’s social worker is informed

Roles and Responsibilities

Designated Safeguarding Lead        Mrs G Coffey OBE – Executive Head Teacher
                                                             Mrs L Tomlinson (in Mrs. Coffey’s absence)

Deputy Safeguarding Lead               Ms H Gates - Deputy Head for Inclusion, Safeguarding and Wellbeing

Designated Governor for Child Protection and Safeguarding and LAC: Mrs D Fletcher

Designated teachers for LAC:        Miss C O’Connnor

The head teacher and governing body and designated lead responsibilities:

  • Ensure that we have a Designated Safeguarding Lead for child protection who has undertaken Targeted Safeguarding Training within the guidelines.
  • Ensure we have a nominated governor responsible for child protection.
  • Ensure every member of staff, and the governing body knows the name of the senior designated persons responsible for child protection and their roles. Due to the size of the school, Mrs Coffey is the designated lead and Miss Gates the deputy designated lead who then delegate responsibility to the Inclusion team to manage day to day ‘alerts’ and concerns. These members of staff have all undertaken the Targeted Safeguarding Training and work alongside Early Help (FIRST) and Slough Children’s Services Trust.
  • Ensure all staff and volunteers understand their responsibilities in being alert to the signs of abuse and responsibility for referring any concerns to the designated team responsible for child protection.
  • Designated safeguarding staff will undertake training in targeted safeguarding every 3 years or as guidance dictates. The school aspires to have someone in the relevant team to have training in all the following:
    • -  Domestic violence/ Physical abuse
    • -  Female Genital Mutilation
    • -  Bullying/ Cyber bullying
    • -  Radicalisation/ Preventing radicalisation
    • -  Faith abuse/ Forced marriage/ Dishonour based violence including violence against women and girls
    • -  Child Sexual exploitation/ Sexting
    • -  Substance misuse
    • -  Gangs and youth violence
    • -  Drugs
    • -  Fabricated/ induced illness
    • -  Mental Heath
    • -  Private Fostering
    • -  Teenage relationship abuse
    • -  Trafficking

 

  • Training of the above is disseminated to all staff.
  • Where possible and appropriate we deliver, or enlist the support of external agencies and charities to provide training to our young people on sensitive issues in order to encourage them to respond to and calculate risk effectively and have an awareness of the support available to them.
  • The designated lead may contact Slough Children's Services Trust to seek advice if there are concerns about a child/young person. Any advice will be documented and followed. When we seek advice from Slough Children's Services Trust we agree and record what the child and parents will be told by whom and when.
  • If it is agreed on the phone that a referral needs to be made, this will be written and sent as soon as possible but no later than 48 hours. The school aims to provide the written referral within the working day of the telephone call.
  • If after 3 working days of the referral the school has received no feedback from the referral the school will contact Slough Children's Services Trust again. We notify Children’s Services immediately if there is an unexplained absence of a pupil who is subject to a child protection plan
  • Children Missing in Education – if the school becomes aware of a child who has been withdrawn from Lynch Hill School with no new school to attend the school will immediately notify the Attendance team at the Local Authority and potentially Slough Children's Services Trust.
  • Home Schooled children – If the parent has made the decision to withdraw the child to educate them at home, the school will immediately notify the Attendance team at the Local Authority and potentially Slough Children's Services Trust.
  • Implement the statutory and LA guidance when a child goes missing from education
  • Any request for absence during term time will trigger some form of investigation from the school as it may indicate a safeguarding concern. In our current climate, we are being vigilant to the possibility of potential Female Genital Mutilation, radicalization and neglect.
  • Private fostering – A private fostering arrangement is one that is made privately without involvement from the local authority for the care of a child under the age of 16 by someone other than the parent and close relative, in their own home, with the intention that it should last for 28 days or more. Close family relative is defined as a grandparent, brother, sister, aunt or uncle and includes half siblings and step parents.
  • School has a legal duty to pass on any known Private Fostering to social care.
  • School will do their best to ensure that each child has at least 2 emergency contacts on record in case of emergencies.
  • We develop effective links with relevant agencies and co-operate as required with their enquiries regarding child protection matters including the attendance at case conferences.
  • We keep written records of concern about children, even when there is no need to refer the matter immediately. All concerns should be written on an Alert form and handed in to a member of the designated team immediately.
  • We ensure all records are kept securely and separate from the main pupil file and in a locked location.
  • We ensure that when a child moves school their Child Protection Record is transferred to the named Designated Person in that new setting.

Staff responsibilities

‘EVERYONE who comes into contact with children and their families and carers has a role to play in safeguarding children. In order to fulfil this responsibility effectively all professionals should make sure their approach is child centered this means they should consider at all times what is in the best interests of the child.’

(source: Keeping children safe in Education 2018)

Staff are responsible for keeping up to date with relevant safeguarding documents such as Keeping children safe in Education, 2018.

They are also responsible for monitoring children carefully for symptoms and signs of abuse (See Appendix 3 for signs and symptoms). Staff have a duty to report any concerns on the school Alert form.  Staff should ensure that they are completing alert forms professionally, factually, timely and using the guidance provided, see attached appendix.  Staff have a duty to report any concerns that may indicate a child is at risk of FGM, CSE, radicalisation and any other indicators of harm or neglect. Staff are frequently asked to complete welfare reports and documentation for social care and can be used as evidence in court. Therefore, staff should ensure that they write detailed, thorough, accurate, factual and professional reports of a high quality. These reports often have deadlines attached so priority to these reports should be observed.

We ask that staff challenge any persons on the school grounds who does not show a school identity badge.

Staff should through the PSHE curriculum ensure that children have a relevant and appropriate awareness of safeguarding issues that could affect them and their peers. They should create an environment where children feel safe and secure in sharing concerns that they may have.

Staff should be aware of Slough’s Early Help Process. Family Information and Resource Support Team (FIRST) takes on an enhanced role in working with schools to support pupils identified at level 2 (those in need of additional support but not at risk of significant harm.)

Any child may benefit from early help, but all school and college staff should be particularly alert to the potential need for early help for a child who:
• is disabled and has specific additional needs
• has special educational needs (whether or not they have a statutory Education, Health and Care Plan) • is a young carer
• is showing signs of being drawn in to anti-social or criminal behaviour, including gang involvement and association with organised crime groups
• is frequently missing/goes missing from care or from home
• is at risk of modern slavery, trafficking or exploitation
• is at risk of being radicalised or exploited
• is in a family circumstance presenting challenges for the child, such as drug and alcohol misuse, adult mental health issues and domestic abuse
• is misusing drugs or alcohol themselves
• has returned home to their family from care
• is a privately fostered child

Practical advice for staff

Recognise (staff training, careful monitoring, awareness of signs and symptoms)
Respond (Use of Alert forms, use guidance to complete them, ensure that they are accurate, detailed and in pen!)
Report (Ensuring the alert form gets to the right place quickly, knowing when it is urgent and is given in person)
Refer (Inclusion team make the decision to refer and a MARF referral is done and checked to ensure key concerns are conveyed accurately)
Reflect (reflect upon decisions made, continue to monitor and review, consider challenge where appropriate)

What to do if a child makes a disclosure: if a child reports, following a conversation you have initiated or otherwise, that they are being abused and neglected, you should listen to them, take their allegation seriously, and reassure them that you will take action to keep them safe.

At all times, you should explain to the child the action that you are taking. It is important to maintain confidentiality, but you should not promise that you won’t tell anyone, as you may need to do so in order to protect the child

Record in as much detail as possible the disclosure as accurately as possible on an alert form

Discuss the concern with someone from the Inclusion and Safeguarding team

We might refer directly to children’s social care and/or the police, or discuss your concerns with others and ask for help.

Children subject to a Child Protection Plan need particular and specific care including:

  • Written dated records are kept on all aspects of their wellbeing including, injuries, lateness, appearance, disclosures, homework, equipment etc.
  • If a child makes a disclosure this must be reported immediately and recorded on an alert form
  • If a child is injured, even if the injury can be explained and/ or was done in school or accidental, this must be reported immediately to the social worker and logged
  • Staff are advised to attend all core groups or TACs, ensuring they bring all relevant information regarding the child to the meeting or an provide a detailed and up to date written report.
  • Teachers will be expected to provide a written report a week before the CP conference. Teachers are not expected to attend the Conferences unless asked to attend by a member of the SLT.

Record keeping
All Alerts are reviewed by the inclusion team and an action decided, once an action is completed the outcome is recorded on the alert form. The Actions and outcomes are recorded and shared with school staff. The alerts are filed in a secure location.

Confidentiality
We have a legal duty to pass information to other children services when we feel that a child’s health or wellbeing is at risk or they are at risk of harm. We take all appropriate measures to ensure that a child or families details are kept confidential but we will always fulfil our safeguarding duty.

As part of safeguarding training, the code of conduct and everyday good practice staff are reminded of the importance of maintaining confidentiality and they are encouraged to act with sensitivity, professionalism and the child’s best interests.

Procedure for dealing with complaints and allegations against staff and head teacher

We recognise that a child/young person, parents or a colleague may make an allegation against a member of staff if they have:

  • Behaved in a way that has harmed a child, or may have harmed a child
  • Possibly committed a criminal offence
  • Behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates he/she is unsuitable to work with children,

Therefore, staff should:

  • Take the matter seriously, keep an open mind and always follow procedure
  • Not investigate
  • Not promise confidentiality to the informant
  • Make a written record of the allegation using the informant’s words (including time, date and place where the alleged incident took place, what was said and who was present; sign and date)

Designated Safeguarding Leads wills:

  • Ensure that the school has a named Senior Manager for handling allegations against staff.  This is the head teacher or a member of the Senior Leadership Team, and where an allegation is made against the head teacher the Chair of Governors should be notified.
  • Ensure that the school informs the Local Authority Designated Officers and complies with any ensuing investigation.
  • Not make any decisions without discussions with the designated officer
  • Make a written record of any discussions with the Designated Officer
  • Make sure the DO has full details of the person against whom the complaint has been raised and the person who is the subject of the concern
  • Ensure safe recruitment practices are always followed.  This means that we hold a Single Central Record of Recruitment and that the Head teacher and/or a Governor has completed Safer Recruitment Training. We understand that whilst not statutory, it is best practice to ensure that the interview panel consists of one member who has undertaken the Safer Recruitment Training.
  • Ensure that we implement the education recommendations following any Serious Case Review.

Pupil responsibilities

Pupils are encouraged to share concerns that they may have about themselves or their peers through an environment that is safe and nurturing. Staff are encouraged to talk to conversationally and ask general questions about themselves. Children will never be asked leading questions.

Pupils are reminded to respect each other and protect each other’s rights.

Procedure for dealing with safeguarding allegations against another pupil (Peer on peer abuse)
At Lynch Hill we believe that all children have a right to attend school and learn in a safe environment. Children should be free from harm by adults in the school and other pupils. We recognise that some pupils will sometimes negatively affect the learning and wellbeing of others and their behaviour will be dealt with under the school’s behaviour policy.

Occasionally, allegations may be made by other pupils in the school, which are of a safeguarding nature. These allegations will be treated seriously, following the sexual violence and sexual harassment in school’s guidance if necessary.  Safeguarding issues raised in this way may include physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and sexual exploitation. It is likely that to be considered a safeguarding allegation against a pupil, if some of the following features will be found:

The allegation:

§  Is made against an older pupil and refers to their behaviour towards a younger pupil or a more vulnerable pupil.

§  Is of a serious nature, possibly including a criminal offence

§  Raises risk factors for other pupils in the school

§  Indicates that other pupils may have been affected by this pupil

§  Indicates that young people outside the school may be affected by this pupil.

When an allegation is raised staff should consider whether the complaint raises a safeguarding concern or not. If it does, then the Designated Safeguarding Lead should be informed.  A factual record should be made of the allegation but no further investigation at this stage and Social Care should be informed. Any outcomes from the discussion with social care should be recorded and a copy kept on both pupils’ files.

If the allegation indicates a potential criminal offence has taken place, the police should be contacted at the earliest opportunity and both the parents should be informed (the alleged victim and the pupil being complained about).  It may be appropriate to exclude the pupil being complained about in accordance to the school’s behaviour policy.

Where social care and the police do not accept the complaint, a thorough school investigation should take place. In situations where the school considers a safeguarding risk is present, a risk assessment is prepared along with preventative, supervision plan that is monitored and reviewed regularly.

Policies for other high risk activities
See policy for:
Intimate care
Positive handling
Residential trips and Offsite trips

Safer recruitment procedures
We have a separate safer recruitment policy. The school adopts safer recruitment practices.

Disclosure and barring
All staff including volunteers and non-teaching staff are required to undergo a fully enhanced disclosure and barring service check.

See policy

Whistleblowing                            
See policy

We recognise that there are a number of policies that are relevant to safeguarding and promoting children’s welfare. These include the following:

We will ensure that these policies are updated on a regular basis to reflect the changing needs of the children and young people who attend our school

We will consult with the children/young people to ensure their voice is heard.

Policy or procedure for safeguarding

Policy in School

Anti Bullying ( with reference to internet & mobile phone bullying)

Behaviour

Anti-bullying policy

Attendance Targets

Procedure reported to Governors

Behaviour management

Behaviour Policy

Child Protection

Child Protection

Disability Equality and Accessibility Plan

Disability Action Plan, DSEN Policy and Equalities and Cohesion

 

Drugs and Substance Misuse

Drug Education policy

Drug and alcohol use in Health and Safety policy for staff

Educating Children with Medical Needs

DSEN policy and Disability, Equality and Accessibility plan

Policy for medication in school

 

Equal Opportunities

Equalities and Cohesion

Equality Act-Sexual Orientation Regs. 2007  (guidance)

Equalities and Cohesion

Extended School (before & after school activities)

 

First Aid ( including management of medical conditions, intimate care)

Intimate Care Policy

First Aid Policy

Medication in school

 

Gender Equality

Equalities and Cohesion

Health & Safety

Health and Safety

Children in Care

Safeguarding, Child Protection and LAC policy

Management of allegations made against staff

Safeguarding, Child Protection and LAC

Flowchart and staff allegation policy

Parenting Contracts

Home School Agreements - handbook

PSHE curriculum

PSHE Curriculum Policy

Racial Equality

Equalities and Cohesion

Recruitment and Selection

Safer Recruitment Policy

Safeguarding statement in school prospectus

Statement in Handbook

Sex Education

Sex Education Policy

Special Educational Needs

DSEN Policy

Staff Appraisal

Policy for Appraising Teacher Performance

Staff handbook (guidance on conduct)

Staff Handbook

Use of Positive Handling & Restraint

Statement within Health and safety Policy

Positive Handling Policy

 

Visitors Policy

Visitors Policy

Use of photographs/video

E Safety Policy

Whistleblowing

Whistle blowing policy

Work Placement (Work Experience)

Visitors Policy

 

Adopted:         May 2012

Last revised:   August 2018

 

Special Educational Needs and Disability Policy

Special Educational Needs and Disability Policy

At Lynch Hill, we believe that every child should be equally valued, irrespective of abilities or individual differences and encouraged to develop to their full potential. 

We recognise that it is the teacher’s responsibility to meet the needs of all children in their class through quality first teaching, ie. Planned activities to facilitate learning within the classroom or through small group work designed to support the classroom learning. All pupils are expected to make progress and we offer a wide range of approaches to learning to support this. However, if a pupil is not progressing a Specific Learning Differences observation is carried out to identify any barriers to learning. This is in order to allow us to provide focussed interventions as part of a graduated response, in line with the SEN Code of Practice. Using an ‘Assess, Plan, Do, Review’ approach the provision offered to pupils is regularly reviewed to ensure it remains appropriate and external professionals are involved where additional support is required.

This policy is written in accordance with SEN Code of Practice 2014 and the Children and Families Act 2014.

Aims:

All children will be able to access and enjoy a rich, creative, broad and relevant education regardless of age, gender, race or creed.

We aim to encourage independence, responsibility, self-esteem and respect by allowing children to realise the contributions that they make to their learning, the school and the local community.

We aim to ensure that every child accesses the National Curriculum and are committed to delivering effective provision according to each child’s individual needs.

We aim to meet Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) through an inclusive whole school approach.

We aim to embed an understanding in all staff members that Special Educational Needs and Disabilities may arise at any time during a pupil’s school career.

We aim to ensure that all children receive provision through ‘quality first teaching’ and a graduated response to identified needs.

We aim to work efficiently and effectively with families and outside agencies to provide the necessary support, information and specialist help.

The Governors aim to ensure that all children have access to all elements of the curriculum and are committed to the effective implementation of the policy.
 

Objectives:

All teachers will be supported in delivering a rich, creative, broad and relevant curriculum through annual performance management, up to date training and feedback from learning walks. Staff will be encouraged to share best practice through observations of colleagues and self reflection.
 

Teachers will receive training at the beginning of the new school year detailing the revisions to the SEN Code of Practice which outlines the need for student voice and preparing children on a daily basis for making informed decisions regarding their education and the provision they receive.
 

The SEND team will provide support to teachers in identifying children with SEN needs and planning the correct provision for the child. All provision will be recorded on the Individual Provision Map, taking account of professional reports. They will support staff in ensuring regular and timely reviews take place to review the impact of the provision offered.
 

Through whole school SEND training at the beginning of the year, the Inclusion Team will raise awareness amongst the staff regarding SEND and the school’s approach and priorities. SEND will be a whole school responsibility. Staff will be aware of how to identify a child whose progress or attainment is a concern and will follow the response to SEND flowchart and liaise with the SEND team and parents regularly.

The Inclusion Team will hold termly reviews to discuss any concerns regarding progression or attainment. SEND alert forms will always be readily available for teachers to document and raise their concerns to the SEND team. These will be logged by the SEN admin team and begin the process of the child being added to the SEN register.

The SEN register will be regularly reviewed by year group teams in conjunction with the Inclusion Team. All children listed on the SEN register will receive an Individual Provision Map (IPM) which will detail provision received. There will be a provision offered for the child’s identified area of need. All IPMs will be shared with parents through quality conversation and reviewed termly. When a child is added or removed from the register, a discussion will be had with parents or carers.

The Inclusion team will offer parents of SEND pupils a twice yearly meeting in addition to the usual parent meetings.
 

After initial SEND training, all teaching staff and support assistants will be aware of what is expected by ‘quality first teaching’ and will understand that they are accountable for this in annual performance management.
 

The Inclusion Team will meet a minimum of once a week to discuss concerns and issues raised by staff. Where necessary, the Inclusion Team will then arrange to meet with parents and outside agencies to discuss the child’s needs and appropriate provision. The progress of each case will be recorded.
 

The nominated Inclusion representative of the governing body meets periodically with the Inclusion Team to ensure that this policy is being implemented and parents are being actively involved in a continual partnership with the school.
 

Strategies:

The atmosphere in the school will promote a happy, sensitive, secure and stimulating learning environment ensuring the most effective learning. We as a school understand that children learn best when they feel happy, secure and can access the support they need.
The school will ensure there is quality teaching throughout the school. We believe in the principle that good practice for SEND pupils is good practice for all pupils. Adopting this ideal across the school ensures that children are not made to feel singled out for receiving additional provision. Instead, there is a focus on Quality First Teaching.

Approach to SEND: Lynch Hill is a mainstream school and will make SEND provision for children who need support which is additional to or different from other children of the same age to enable them to learn. 

Children with SEND will receive support that is tailored to their individual need, although the following support is common practice within Lynch Hill Primary School:

Children with Speech and Language Therapy programmes may receive direct 1:1 or small group support from a suitably trained staff member;

Children may receive small group support in-class from a teaching assistant;

Children with difficulties in specific areas (for example: reading) may receive small group support outside class from a teaching assistant;

Children with Physiotherapy or Occupational Therapy programmes may receive 1:1 or small group support from a suitably trained staff member;

Children with advice from the Educational Psychologist may receive differentiated learning tasks from the class teacher;

Children with social, emotional or mental health difficulties may receive direct work 1:1 or in a small group from a teaching assistant or outreach worker, or 1:1 with a drama therapist.

Children with visual or hearing impairment may receive differentiated learning tasks from the class teacher or direct work from a specialist teacher.

Teaching for Neurodiveristy: The school will utilise the ‘Teaching for Neurodiversity’ approach to identifying SEND needs which is rooted in a graduated response. (See appendix – Response to SEND) Those children requiring SEND support will have an Individual Provision Map (IPM) which will detail SMART targets relevant to the child’s needs and are designed to facilitate sustained progress for the child, sharing targets and provision with parents. These IPMs will be reviewed regularly with input from the parents and pupils which will inform the level of support and involvement required.

Individual learning styles: The school will promote a happy atmosphere where developing independence is vital to accessing the curriculum and experiencing success in the classroom. The Inclusion Team and class teachers are all committed to finding out how individual children learn best and applying this creatively. This ensures the delivery of an appropriate, engaging and relevant curriculum which meets the needs of the child.

Quality first teaching: The school will endeavour to ensure SEND pupils are making progress at a similar rate to their peers. They will receive quality first teaching, appropriately differentiated to their needs and additional provisions as required, taking into account professional recommendations. There is no stigma or assumption associated with receiving additional support, instead the focus is on all children making progress in order to fulfil their potential.

Early identification and sharing best practice: Teachers will meet at least weekly to discuss their year group and share good practice. This is an opportunity to share the successes the children have had and which strategies are working well. If a child is still struggling to make progress despite all the efforts of the class teacher, then a Specific Learning Differences observation will be undertaken. This early identification allows for us to respond to individual’s needs in a timely manner. We will actively seek the pupil’s and parents’ thoughts about their learning and try to establish how they feel we can best support them.

SEND monitoring: The SEND monitoring process ensures that the Inclusion Team maintains a list of children who are currently receiving SEND support. This list is checked and adjusted regularly so that children are correctly identified. Teaching staff contribute to this list and other professional and parental views are always taken into account. The school recognises the importance of early identification of need. The SEN alert system is a formal way of logging concerns and tracking the pupil’s support so far and these are reviewed weekly. Data and the SEN register are reviewed termly in conjunction with teachers.

SEND register: The Inclusion Team will review the SEND register in conjunction with staff teams termly. Children can be added or removed any point throughout the year, following a discussion with parents or carers. All children on the SEN register will receive provision which will be recorded on the whole school provision map and shared with parents via their Individual Provision Map (IPM). In addition to the SEN register, the Inclusion Team monitors the progress of children who may need support in the future.
Provisions: Support will be offered to children to respond to their needs. Provisions offered to children are varied and can include: in class, small group, 1:1, after school clubs or with external professionals. The provision offered is based on the observed needs. This can be from the school based observations or from those detailed in professional reports. Support is graduated so that it appropriate and ensures that previous interventions/provisions have been delivered effectively and reviewed before additional provision or involvement is sought. ie. It is not appropriate to involve an Educational Psychologist or refer to CAMHS when concerns are first raised. This is because:

these processes take time and in the meantime the child is without support

earlier school based intervention may be effective and therefore Educational Psychologist or CAMHs involvement may not be required

these agencies expect the school to have responded to the needs and evidenced what has already been put in place to support the child and that it has not been effective and therefore further involvement is required

agencies become overwhelmed with referrals, slowing response times

Additional provision is part of a continual assessment and review process which includes the views of parents and the child at each stage.

Working together: The SEND team will maintain excellent relationships with outside agencies. Where necessary and possible, the school is always willing to seek advice from other professionals and is committed to gathering evidence regarding a child’s needs and making timely referrals.

 

Educational Health Care Plan (EHCP) applications: The school will follow the guidelines issued by the local authority when taking decisions about whether to apply for an Educational Health Care Plan. An Educational Health Care Plan application can only be made by the school when it can be evidenced that all other options have been exhausted. Parents will be involved in this process throughout.

The code of practice states:

9.14 In considering whether an EHC needs assessment is necessary, the local authority should consider whether there is evidence that despite the early years provider, school or post-16 institution having taken relevant and purposeful action to identify, assess and meet the special educational needs of the child or young person, the child or young person has not made expected progress. To inform their decision the local authority will need to take into account a wide range of evidence, and should pay particular attention to:

evidence of the child or young person’s academic attainment (or developmental milestones in younger children) and rate of progress 

information about the nature, extent and context of the child or young person’s SEN 

evidence of the action already being taken by the early years provider, school or post-16 institution to meet the child or young person’s SEN 

evidence that where progress has been made, it has only been as the result of much additional intervention and support over and above that which is usually provided 

evidence of the child or young person’s physical, emotional and social development and health needs, drawing on relevant evidence from clinicians and other health professionals and what has been done to meet these by other agencies

Further information can be found on the local authority website.

The involvement of the governing body in the SEND process and policy is to ensure the consistent and effective delivery of our aims and objectives. This is a continual monitoring and consultation process, designed to hold the Inclusion team to account and ensure that children receive the best possible support and care while at Lynch Hill.
 

This policy will contribute to achieving these objectives by ensuring that provision for pupils with SEND is a matter for the whole school and is a part of the continuous cycle of assessment and review.

Definitions of Special Educational Needs and Disability

DfE (2017) definition of special educational needs

Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) can affect a child or young person’s ability to learn. They can affect their:

behaviour or ability to socialise, for example they struggle to make friends

reading and writing, for example because they have dyslexia

ability to understand things

concentration levels, for example because they have ADHD

physical ability

This is the definition used in the most recent SEN code of practice, which was published in 2014.

It says:

A child or young person has SEN if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her. 

A child of compulsory school age or a young person has a learning difficulty or disability if he or she:

has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age, or

has a disability which prevents or hinders him or her from making use of facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools or mainstream post-16 institutions

For children aged two or more, special educational provision is educational or training provision that is additional to or different from that made generally for other children or young people of the same age by mainstream schools, maintained nursery schools, mainstream post-16 institutions or by relevant early years providers. For a child under two years of age, special educational provision means educational provision of any kind.

Children must not be regarded as having a learning difficulty solely because the language or form of language of their home is different from the language in which they will be taught.

Legal definition of Disability

You’re disabled under the Equality Act 2010 if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities.

Lynch Hill’s use of the Neurodiversity Approach to SEND

The DfE and the SEND Code of Practice identify four main areas of SEND which are:

Social, emotional and mental health needs (SEMH)

Communication and interaction needs (SCLN)

Physical and sensory needs

Learning and cognition

At Lynch Hill we have adopted ‘Teaching for Neurodiversity’. Neurodiversity is a concept where neurological differences are to be recognized and respected as any other human variation. This approach is focussed on recognising the links between cognitive function, learning and behaviour and reduces the need for labels, instead focussing on the strengths of the child and the support that is required in order for the pupil to achieve their best.

Lynch Hill recognises the value of early identification, in particular in the area of Literacy difficulties, and the Neurodiversity training has been cascaded through all staff teams. This is inline with our School Development Plan and follows research from our Educational Psychologist into the school approach to Dyslexia. Our graduated response to both parent and teacher concerns has been detailed in a leaflet which be used to clearly communicate with parents. This can be found in the appendices.

Admissions and inclusions

Pupils with DSEN are admitted to the school on the same basis as any other child as per the admissions policy. A parent, of a child with an EHCP, that wishes to send a pupil to Lynch Hill School Primary Academy, must alert the Local Authority before an application can be considered. On receiving the statement, the Inclusion Team must consider whether the school is able to meet the needs of the pupil. Pupils with a statement have a priority of admission, as per the Admissions Policy.

Roles and Responsibilities:

Responsible to the Governing Body for Disability and Special Educational Needs: 

Mrs G Coffey, Head teacher

Governor with responsibility in Disability and Special Educational Needs: Mrs D Laflin

In the core Inclusion team:

Hannah Gates – Inclusion Team, Head of SEND

Chloe O’Connor and Louise Clarke – Assistant SENDCos

Lisa Bunce – Family Support Advisor/ Attendance Coordinator

Debbie Clack – Inclusion Team TA

Other members of the Inclusion team:

Claire Cargin – Coordinator of small group provision

Helen Airs – Nurture practitioner

Debbie Isernia – Nurture Practitioner

Trish Johnson Paige – Communication and Interaction Coordinator

Debbie Davies – Communication and Interaction Support Worker

Dr Helen Cox- Educational Psychologist

Rachel Jolly – Drama Therapist

Mandy Parsons – Services Supporting Behaviour, Counselling Psychologist

The Governing Body: 

School Governing Bodies have statutory responsibilities to ensure that the special educational needs of all children in their school are met.  Under Section 157 of the 1993 Education Act, LEA and Governing Body must, by law, have regard to the provisions of the “Code of Practice on the Identification and Assessment of Special Educational Needs” all are elements from paragraph 2.6 of the Code of Practice.

The Governing Body must:

Do their best to secure that the necessary provision is made for any pupil who has DSEN.

Secure that, where the “responsible person” - the head teacher or the appropriate governor - has been informed by the local authority that a pupil has special needs, those needs are made known to all who are likely to teach him or her.

Consult the authorities, as appropriate, the Funding Authority, and the governing bodies of other schools when it seems to them necessary or desirable in the interests of coordinated DSEN provision in the area as a whole.

Ensure that the pupil joins in the activities of the school together with pupils who do not have disabilities or special educational needs, so far as that is reasonably practical and compatible with the pupil receiving the necessary special educational provision, the efficient education of other children in the school and the efficient use of resources (Code of Practice 1994, section 2.6).

The Executive Headteacher:

Has responsibility for the day to day management of all aspects of the school’s work, including provision for children with disability and special educational needs.

Will keep the Governing Body fully informed on all matters relating to DSEN and the progress of children.

The Inclusion Team: To be responsible for:

the Special Educational Needs Register

Providing and supporting teachers once a child is identified as having DSEN.

Assisting the identification of children with special educational needs both informally and formally by means of assessment.

Giving advice to other members of staff on appropriate assessment materials and writing the Individual Education Plan.

Helping teachers to monitor the progress of children identified on the Special Needs Register.

Liaising with outside agencies, the Head teacher and the parents as appropriate for each child.

Ensuring regular reviews for all pupils with DSEN, including annual reviews for those children with a statement and those children with a PSP.

Monitoring and providing advice in order that the Individual Provision Maps are updated at regular intervals.

Consulting colleagues annually to evaluate the resourcing of DSEN provision.

Class Teachers:

Every teacher is responsible for all children in their class.  As soon as the class teacher has a concern about a child’s progress, the child’s parents should be informed. The Inclusion Team should be made aware through the appropriate channels.

All staff have the responsibility to:

Identify a child’s special educational needs.

Provide a differentiated curriculum with relevant tasks for all children in their care.

Ensure an inclusive classroom environment.

Consult and work with the Inclusion Team and other agencies who may become involved.

Make parents aware of their concern and seek to have their support and involvement in any programme given to the child.

Monitor and update the Individual Education Plan at regular intervals.

Manage the work of other adults in the classroom to provide support and effective teaching strategies of all children; including organising and ensuring that support groups run to timetable.

DSEN Teaching Assistants with specific responsibilities to:

Liaise regularly with the class teacher and Inclusion Team and relevant professionals within school.

work on appropriate programmes as arranged with class teacher and relevant professionals

assist children individually or in a small group situation

Work closely with the class teacher in supporting children with DSEN.

Parental Involvement:

An active partnership between the school, parents and external agencies is the most effective way to ensure a full understanding of each pupil’s needs.  All relevant agencies, including parents, should be involved in the process of identifying individual needs, planning support and evaluation of that support.  Parents are encouraged to become involved as soon as a concern about a child’s learning need is identified.

If a parent initially raises a concern about their child’s learning needs, then that concern should be recorded and information shared with colleagues such as the Team Leader, Senior Leadership team, Inclusion team, Parent and teacher should work together in order that they may help the child receive the best possible education.

External Agencies:

The role of external agencies is broad and varied.  They have a crucial part to play in the full integration of pupils into mainstream education.  Such services may include:

Educational Psychologist                              

Physiotherapist

Doctor and Nurse

Specialist teacher of children with hearing, visual, speech and language impairments. (as provided by Sensory Consortium)

Attendance officer

Occupational Therapist

Social Care

Specialist teachers from the Teaching and Support Service

Services Supporting Behaviour (SEBDOS)

Child Mental Health / Paediatricians, etc.

Information about a child may be passed on to other agencies involved with the child. It is important to ensure that all professionals working with a child regularly meet to share information and review the work they are doing.

Arrangements for training and development of all staff including Teaching Assistants

The school makes an annual audit of training needs for all staff taking into account school priorities as well as personal professional development. Special needs are included within all school training. In addition, staff attend training organised by the LEA and other agencies.

Complaints Procedure:

Guidelines have been laid down with respect to complaints procedures within the school and the school will always try to adhere to these.  Lynch Hill School Primary Academy will make its best endeavours to meet the requirements of pupils with special educational needs.  Should parents of children with Special Educational Needs and Disability have a complaint about the school’s provision it is envisaged that, in most cases, it should be possible to resolve the matter through informal discussion with the class teacher or the Inclusion Team.  Parents are welcome to speak to the Inclusion Team, by telephone or to make an appointment at a mutually convenient time.

If parents are dissatisfied with the outcome, the complaint should be addressed to the Headteacher.  If parents still feel the matter has not been resolved to their satisfaction, the Governing Body may be contacted.  A copy of the curriculum complaints procedure is available from the school.

Reporting to Governors:

the governor responsible monitors progress through regular visits and discussion with the Inclusion Team

The Head Teacher will report each term to the Inclusion Committee of the Governing Body.

A full annual report will be made to the whole of the Governing Body.

Criteria for evaluating the success of the school’s Disability and Special Educational Needs and Policy:

The Disability and Special Educational Needs policy will be judged as successful if:

Pupils identified as having DSEN have progressed in line with or to a greater degree than their peers as a result of the above procedures. Shown through Target Setting and ISP.

Teachers are aware of pupils with DSEN and follow the school’s identification and assessment procedures and have appropriate training

Parents are involved in partnership with the school, if appropriate, assisting with a programme of support for their child.

The Head teacher and the Inclusion Team are reporting to the Governors on a regular basis.

Disability and Special Educational Needs are included in the long term planning of the school (School Development Plan).

Resources are utilised effectively, appropriately and matched to children with DSEN.

Pupils with DSEN are tracked through provision mapping, target setting, CATs scores, ISP, observations, Drop in Clinics, ECAFs and Individual Education Plans.

This policy will be reviewed annually.

Inclusion Team:

H. Gates

D. Laflin

Chloe O’Connor and Louise Clarke

Last reviewed April 2019