The purpose of this policy is to:
- provide an outline of the complaints process at Frankston Special Developmental School (SDS) so that students, families and members of the community are informed of how they can raise complaints or concerns about issues arising at our school
- ensure that all complaints and concerns regarding Frankston SDS are managed in a timely, effective, fair and respectful manner.
This policy relates to complaints brought by families, students or members of our school community and applies to all matters relating to our school.
In some limited instances, we may need to refer a complainant to another policy or area if there are different processes in place to the manage the issue including:
- Complaints and concerns relating to fraud and corruption will be managed in accordance with the department’s Fraud and Corruption Policy
- Criminal matters will be referred to Victorian Police
- Legal claims will be referred to the Department’s Legal Division
Complaints and concerns relating to child abuse will be managed in accordance with our Child Safety Responding and Reporting Obligations Policy and Procedures, please refer to this policy on our website.
Frankston SDS is committed to continuous improvement. We value open communication with our families and are committed to understanding complaints and addressing them appropriately. We recognise that the complaints process provides an important opportunity for reflection and learning.
We value and encourage open and positive relationships with our school community. We understand that it is in the best interests of students for there to be a trusting relationship between families and our school.
When addressing a complaint, it is expected that all parties will:
- be considerate of each other’s views and respect each other’s role
- be focused on resolution of the complaint, with the interests of the student involved at the centre
- act in good faith and cooperation
- behave with respect and courtesy
- respect the privacy and confidentiality of those involved, as appropriate
- operate within and seek reasonable resolutions that comply with any applicable legislation and Department policy.
- Recognise that schools and the Department may be subject to legal constraints on their ability to act or disclose information in some circumstances.
Complaints and concerns process for students
Frankston SDS acknowledges that issues or concerns can cause stress or worry for students and impact their wellbeing and learning. Frankston SDS encourages our students to raise issues or concerns as they arise so that we can work together to resolve them.
Students with a concern or complaint can raise them with a trusted adult at school, for example, with your classroom teacher, Wellbeing staff, Education Support staff. This person will take your concern or complaint seriously and will explain to you what steps we can take to try to resolve the issue and support you.
You can also ask your parent, carer or another trusted adult outside of the school, to talk to us about the issue instead. Information about our parent/carer complaints and concerns process is outlined further below. The parent/carer process also applies to students who are mature minors, refer to: Mature Minors and Decision Making.
Other ways you can raise a concern or complaint with us include:
- talking to a member of the student representative council about your concern and any suggestions you have for resolving it
- participating in our Attitudes to School Survey
Further information and resources to support students to raise issues or concerns are available at:
- Report Racism Hotline (call 1800 722 476) – this hotline enables students to report concerns relating to racism or religious discrimination
- Reach Out
- Kids Helpline (call 1800 55 1800)
- Victorian Aboriginal Education Association (VAEAI)
Complaints and concerns for parents, carers and community members
Preparation for raising a concern or complaint
Frankston SDS encourages parents, carers or members of the community who may wish to submit a complaint to:
- carefully consider the issues you wish to discuss
- remember you may not have all the relevant facts about the issues that you want to raise
- think about how the matter could be resolved
- be informed by checking the policies and guidelines set by the Department and Frankston SDS (See “Further Information and Resources” section below
You are welcome to have a support person to assist you in raising a complaint or concern with our school. Please advise us if you wish to have a support person to assist you, and provide their name, contact details, and their relationship to you.
Frankston SDS is always happy to discuss with families and community members any concerns that they may have. Concerns in the first instance should be directed to the classroom teacher. Where possible, school staff will work with you to ensure that your concerns are appropriately addressed.
Where concerns cannot be resolved in this way, families or community members may wish to make a formal complaint to the Principal.
If you would like to make a formal complaint, in most cases, depending on the nature of the complaint raised, our school will first seek to understand the issues before working towards a resolution. The following process will apply:
- Complaint received: Please either email, telephone or arrange a meeting through the front office with the Principal to outline your complaint so that we can fully understand what the issues are. We can discuss your complaint in a way that is convenient for you, whether in writing, in person or over the phone.
- Information gathering: Depending on the issues raised in the complaint, the Principal may need to gather further information to properly understand the situation. This process may also involve speaking to others to obtain details about the situation about the situation or the concerns raised.
- Response: Where possible, a resolution meeting will be arranged with the Principal to discuss the complaint with the objective of reaching a resolution satisfactory to all parties. If after the resolution meeting we are unable to resolve the complaint together, we will work with you to produce a written summary of the complaint should you wish to take further action. In some circumstances, the Principal may determine that a resolution meeting would not be appropriate. In this situation, a response to the complaint will be provided in writing.
- Timelines: Frankston SDS will acknowledge receipt of your complaint as soon as possible (usually within 48 hours) and will seek to resolve complaints in a timely manner. Depending on the complexity of the complaint, we may need some time to gather enough information to fully understand the circumstances of your complaint. We will endeavour to complete any necessary information gathering and hold a resolution meeting where appropriate within 10 working days of the complaint being raised. In situations where further time is required, Frankston SDS will consult with you and discuss any interim solutions to the dispute that can be put in place.
Please note that unreasonable conduct (e.g. Vexatious complaints) may need to be managed differently to the procedures in this policy.
Where appropriate, Frankston SDS may seek to resolve a complaint by:
- an apology or expression of regret
- a change of decision
- a change of policy, procedure or practice
- offering the opportunity for student counselling or other support
- other actions consistent with school values that are intended to support the student, parent and school relationship, engagement, and participation in the school community.
In some circumstances, Frankston SDS may also ask you to attend a meeting with an independent third party, or participate in a mediation with an accredited mediator to assist in the resolution of the dispute.
Frankston SDS may also refer a complaint to the South East Regional SEIL if we believe that we have done all we can to address the complaint.
For more information about the Department’s parent complaints process, including the role of the Regional Office, please see: Raise a complaint or concern about your school.
Record keeping and other requirements
Our school also follows Department policy to ensure that record-keeping, reporting, privacy and employment law obligations are met when responding to complaints or concerns.
This policy will be communicated to our school community in the following ways:
- Available publicly on school website
- Included in staff induction processes
- Hard copy available from school administration upon request
FURTHER INFORMATION AND RESOURCES
The Department’s Policy and Advisory Library (PAL):
The Department’s parents’ website:
Policy review and approval
Policy last reviewed
School Council 15th August 2022
Next scheduled review date