School complaints

The Education Act 2002 requires that the governing bodies of all maintained schools in Wales, including nursery schools, to establish procedures for dealing with complaints from parents, pupils, staff, governors and members of the local community.

Each individual school has their own complaints procedure, full details of school’s complaints procedures can be obtained directly from each of the Blaenau Gwent schools, contact details of which can be found here. Non-school related complaints need to be made to the Director of Education. Further advice and guidance on the Council’s procedures can be obtained by contacting the Education Directorate via the following email address: education.department@blaenau-gwent.gov.uk  Also via the Council’s complaints page.

Complaints of a general nature

1. The responsibility for dealing with complaints at a school lies with the Governing Body. The Council are able to provide advice, support and guidance to pupils, parents, headteachers and governors about procedures and processes associated with the resolution of complaints.

2.  A summary of complaints procedure (as adopted by Governing Bodies of community and voluntary aided schools), is provided below:-

(a) complaints should be referred to the headteacher in the first instance (unless of such a serious nature, or concerning the headteacher, in which case it should be referred to the Chair of the Governing Body);

(b) if the Headteacher cannot resolve the complaint, it should be referred to the Chair of the Governing Body unless he/she has a prior involvement;

(c) if the Chair cannot resolve the complaint, it should be referred to the appropriate subcommittee of the Governing Body;

(d) at any stage, the Corporate Director of Education can provide advice and guidance (contact: 01495 355421 for more information);

(e) it must be noted that on occasion special procedures can apply to complaints dependent on the nature of the complaint e.g., in the case of pupil exclusions and curriculum; and,

(f) the Council (other than the Director of Education) can only be directly involved if the matter is referred to them by the Governing Body, post initial investigation.

Complaints about Aspects of the Curriculum in Schools

1. Complaints about curriculum provision would include all aspects of National Curriculum, courses leading to external qualifications, religious education and worship, operation of charging policies in relation to the curriculum and compliance with regulations in relation to provision of information and curriculum.

2. These procedures do not cover complaints about the actions of individual teachers or the headteacher.

Summary of Procedures

All curriculum complaints should first be discussed informally with the headteacher. The headteacher must inform the complainant that, if they are not satisfied with the headteacher's decision, they can refer the complaint, in the first instance informally, but in writing to the Corporate Director of Education Department (contact: 01495 355421).

The written complaint will be considered and discussed with the relevant Link Adviser, the headteacher and the complainant. The complainant will be informed of the outcome and any action proposed. The complainant will also be informed that they may make a formal complaint to the Governing Body in the first instance. When the Governing Body meet to consider the complaint, the complainant may make representation in person (accompanied if desired).

Each Governing Body should have in place arrangements and procedures for dealing with such complaints before any complaints are received. On receipt of a curriculum complaint, the Governing Body should satisfy itself that the complaint has been fully investigated before making any decisions. The Governing Body will inform the complainant in writing of their decision along with the reasons for their decision and finally, any action taken or proposed.

If the complainant is not satisfied with the Governing Body's decision, he/she may refer the complaint to the Council by writing to the Corporate Director of Education, Education Directorate, Floor 8, Anvil Court, Church Street,  Abertillery. NP13 1DB

If the complaint concerns religious worship or an agreed syllabus for religious education, the Corporate Director of Education will call a meeting of Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education (SACRE) to act on behalf of the Council in considering the complaint.

In voluntary Aided schools the relevant authority will be the independent church authority. Other complaints will be considered by the Education Sub-Committee. The complainant (accompanied by another if so desired), school Governing Body and Link Adviser should be invited to the meeting to make representations.

A written report should be sent to the complainant following the meeting, detailing the decision taken and any action proposed. The complainant should be informed that if he/ she are not satisfied with the decision, the complaint may be passed on to the relevant Cabinet Secretary at Welsh Government.

The Council and individual schools will maintain a record of formal complaints.

Bullying and Racial Harassment

1. The responsibility for dealing with complaints which involve harassment or bullying of pupils lies with the Governing Body.

2. The procedures for dealing with such complaints are the same as those for complaints of a general nature, except that:

(a)   where appropriate, the Police should be informed; and,
(b)    the Council will monitor all complaints which suggest that there has been a racial incident.

3. A racial incident is one in which the action is regarded as racist by the victim or anyone else.

4. Bullying and racial harassment may take various forms and includes name-calling, insults, graffiti, offensive or racist language or literature, as well as physical assault and the threat of physical assault. 

5. Schools should log all incidents and the action taken and immediately report severe incidents to the Corporate Director of Education. The Council will monitor the frequency and nature of racist incidents and the effectiveness of the action taken.

6. Schools should have clear policies and practices which promote harmony and which provide support for victims.

Contact Information

Business Support
Telephone Number: (01495) 355421
Address: Education Directorate, Floor 8, Anvil Court, Church Street,  Abertillery. NP13 1DB
Email Address: education.department@blaenau-gwent.gov.uk