Complaints Policy

Rationale

Beaumaris Secondary College is committed to maintaining a collaborative, respectful and supportive environment for parents, staff, students and the wider community. We recognise that from time to time families may wish to raise concerns or complaints with the school. The College believes that when complaints are handled correctly ,both raised and responded to in a respectful and constructive manner, we strengthen our framework for a connected and positive school tone and culture.

We value ongoing communication with parents/guardians; we strive to understand, address and respond in a professional manner to concerns expressed by parents. The school also expects that any concerns that parents have will be raised in a courteous and respectful manner. At Beaumaris Secondary College, we value and encourage open and positive relationships with parents, guardians and families.

Aims

The purpose of this policy is to:

  • Recognise a student or parent’s right to raise concerns about an issue at the College;
  • Recognise that in managing complaints from parents, all parties will be honest, fair, respectful and understanding of each other’s point of view and perceptions.
  • Provide a protocol and process for responding to complaints in a timely manner.
  • Communicate the common goal of achieving an outcome acceptable to all parties, in good faith and in a calm and courteous manner.

This policy does not cover matters for which there are existing rights of review or appeal, such as:

  • Student discipline matters involving expulsions; complaints about employee conduct; performance and complaints that should be dealt with by performance management; grievance resolution or disciplinary action; student critical incident matters or any criminal matters.

As per the steps in this document, parents are strongly encouraged to raise any issues at the school level first. However a parent may at any time take a complaint to DET. In the first instance such complaints may occur over the phone or in writing to the Regional Office.

If parents remain unsatisfied, a complaint in writing using the Department’s Parent Complaint Form http://www.education.vic.gov.au/Documents/about/contact/parentcomplaintform.pdfcan be made to Central Office.

This policy is based on guidelines provided by DET located at the following website: http://www.eduweb.vic.gov.au/edulibrary/public/commrel/contacts/POLICY_AND_GUIDES_Addressing_parents_concerns.pdf

Raising Concerns or Complaints

Rights and Responsibilities:

Parents/Guardians

Beaumaris Secondary College encourages relationships of responsibility and respect amongst members of the school community. The complaint process can be a difficult emotional process for all parties. The school asks that parents/guardians consider the following principles when making a complaint.

The school expects a person raising a concern or complaint to:

  • Do so promptly, as soon as possible after the issue/incident occurs.
  • Provide complete and factual information about the concern or complaint.
  • Maintain and respect the privacy and confidentiality of all parties.
  • Act in good faith, and in a calm and courteous manner.
  • Show respect and understanding of each other’s point of view and difference in values, rather than judge and blame.
  • Acknowledge that the common goal is to achieve an outcome that is acceptable to all parties.
  • Recognise that all parties have rights and responsibilities which must be balanced.
  • Acknowledge the relevant College values as they relate to the complaint.

Parents may bring a support person, such as an unpaid advocate or friend, to meetings with the Principal or Assistant Principal. Anyone bringing an outsider to a meeting should give prior notice to the other party prior to the meeting.

School

In all its activities and communications, the school attempts to build trust and a sense of belonging to a wider community. Beaumaris Secondary College is committed to:

  • Listening respectfully to the perspective of complainants
  • Making reasonable attempts to resolve complaints quickly and clearly. Initial response should occur within 24hours but not longer than 48 hours.
  • Maintain communication with all parties about the progress of resolution.
  • Providing a safe and supportive environment where everyone is treated with respect, fairness and dignity.
  • Ensuring the safety, security, health and wellbeing of all community members.

The School will address complaints as follows:

  • In a fair, professional, courteous and respectful manner.
  • In accordance with due process, the principles of natural justice and relevant regulatory frameworks

School officers may call upon the expertise or input of others such as specialist staff, staff from the Department, etc. in their meetings with parents. Anyone bringing an outsider to a meeting should give prior notice to the other party prior to the commencement of the meeting.

School Administration

The school will maintain a register of complaints and record the following details of all complaints received in writing:

  • Name and contact details of the person with a complaint.
  • The date the concern was expressed or complaint made.
  • A brief description of the complaint.
  • Details of the school officer responding to the complaint.
  • Action taken on the complaint.
  • The outcome of action taken on the complaint.
  • Any recommendations for future improvement in the school’s policy or procedures.

Stage 1: Informal resolution process:

The following points outline how parents/guardians should go about raising a concern or making a complaint to the school. Parents are encouraged to access our support and feedback processes at all times, with the correct person. This will ensure quick response and no double handling.

In the first instance the complainant should telephone, email or write to:

  • The student’s teacher about learning issues and incidents that may have happened in their class.
  • The Student’s GOAL teacher or Year Level Coordinator if it is a concern about behaviour or wellbeing
  • An Assistant Principal about issues relating to other staff members or complex student issues.
  • The Principal about issues relating to school policy, school management, staff members or very complex student issues.
  • If unsure who to contact please refer to the college’s Parent Communication Protocol on the school website and Compass.

 If a face to face meeting is required:

  • Parents/guardians must make an appointment time to meet with school staff.
  • Parents/guardians must sign in at the college office before the scheduled meeting time.
  • Parents/guardians must not approach a staff member directly without making an appointment time.

Stage two: Formal Resolution Process:

Parents who are dissatisfied with the outcome of an informal discussion, with an administration, teaching, or support staff member, or the timeframe for resolution should next approach the Principal or Assistant principal with their concerns. Concerns may be raised via telephone, in writing or by making an appointment for a face to face meeting.

School Leadership:

  • The Principal or Assistant Principal will respond to the complaint within a week. Some record of the meeting should be kept in the form of email or diary note. The school leader will alert the parent to the existence of this complaints policy.
  • If the Principal or Assistant Principal undertakes to pursue certain investigations and discussions or follow up action from the meeting, she/he will advise the parent of a proposed time frame. The Principal and Assistant Principal may conduct their own investigations by talking with relevant parties if they believe the matter can be resolved informally.
  • Where a complaint is more complex, the Principal may confer with or draw on the resources of DET.
  • The Principal will provide regular and timely feedback to the parent or facilitate action as appropriate to the complaint.
  • The Principal may not always be able to provide details of action to parents, especially where practices of staff management or industrial matters are concerned. However the Principal will ensure that the parent is made aware of this policy and the steps available to the parent.
  • This aspect of the formal resolution should usually take no more than 20 working days.

School Council – Policy matters

  • Where a parent is dissatisfied with a matter of school policy only, she/he may raise the complaint with the President of the school council in writing. The school council cannot respond to operational or matters of industrial management. These are the purview of the school Principal and DET.
  • The president of the school council may speak with the parent to better understand the policy issue. The School Council President will alert the parent to the existence of this complaints policy.
  • At the request of the parent, and (i) where an issues falls within the parameters of council’s responsibilities or (ii) it is unclear as to whether the issue falls within council’s powers, the president will raise the issue at school council for discussion. The parent, and any other parents interested in the policy, will be invited to any such meeting of the council for participation in discussion. The parent will be entitled to a formal response from the school council in writing.

DET Regional Office

  • Where a parent is dissatisfied with the response of the Principal in relation to any matter, she/he may then take the complaint to the Department of Education and Training Regional Office. Complaints may be made over the telephone to the South Eastern Victorian Region on (03) 8765 5600. Complaints may also be made in writing to the Regional Director Email: sevr@edumail.vic.gov.au
  • Where the parent is dissatisfied with the outcome of the school council process, she/he may then take the complaint to the Department of Education and Training Regional Office. Complaints may be made over the telephone to the South Eastern Victorian Region on (03) 8765 5600. Complaints may also be made in writing to the Regional Director Email: sevr@edumail.vic.gov.au

DET Central Office

  • If the complaint cannot be resolved by the complainant, school and regional office working together, parents may request that the regional office refer it to the DET’s Group Coordination Division OR parents can lodge a complaint themselves using the Department’s Parent Complaint Form. http://www.education.vic.gov.au/Documents/about/contact/parentcomplaintform.pdf
  • Central Office will ask the complainant for a complete and factual account in writing of the complaint and the complainant’s opinion about why the school and regional office did not resolve it to their satisfaction. The complainant will be asked to outline their view on the course of action required to resolve the complaint.
  • If the complainant is unable to provide a written account, the officer from Group Coordination Division should act on the information provided.
  • The Department undertakes to respond within 20 days or to notify parents if the management of the complaint will take longer.
  • If a parent feels the issue has not been dealt with appropriately by the Department, they may consider submitting their complaint to an external agency (see the Department Website: Parent Complaints – Further Resources and Information: http://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/contact/Pages/complaininfo.aspx).

Contact Information

 

Beaumaris Secondary College

Email:

Email staff member directly via Compass

Telephone:

8569-9200– ask to be put through to the relevant staff member

Correspondence marked confidential should be addressed to:

Beaumaris Secondary College

117-135 Reserve Road

Beaumaris 3193

Department Regional Office – South Eastern Victoria Region

Correspondence marked ‘confidential’ should be addressed to:

The Regional Director,

Postal address:

PO Box 5,

Dandenong, Victoria 3175

Location: 165-169 Thomas Street, Dandenong, Victoria 3175
Phone: (03) 8765 5600
Fax: (03) 8765 5784

Email: sevr@edumail.vic.gov.au

Department Central Office

Correspondence marked ‘confidential’ should be addressed to:

Deputy Secretary

Regional Services Group

c/o Manager, School Operations and Governance Unit

Regional Monitoring and Support Division

GPO Box 4367

Melbourne VIC 3001

Email: community.stakeholders@edumail.vic.gov.au

Fax: 9637 2180

117/136 Reserve RD Beaumaris, Victoria 3193

(03) 8569 9200

beaumaris.sc@edumail.vic.gov.au