Parent Concerns and Complaints Policy

Vision

Fitzroy High School values children as individual learners who are full of potential and capable of excellence. Our students will be lifelong learners, reflective and creative thinkers, responsible and active citizens, and resilient and adaptable problem solvers able to navigate through an uncertain and constantly changing future.

  • Fitzroy is a learning community where students and teams of teachers work together to:
  • achieve high standards so that all students fulfil their capabilities in academic, intellectual, social, emotional and physical development
  • celebrate diversity and embrace individual differences, including class, culture, race, gender, sexuality and ethnicity
  • build a cohesive, compassionate and proud school community with a productive legacy for the future
  • develop beyond our current capacity through continuous change and review
  • participate in and contribute to our wider community. 

Philosophy

Fitzroy High embraces a bold and ambitious dream: striving for excellence and equity. We aim to be a humane learning community in which teachers use relationships to deepen their knowledge of students. This is in order to engage all of them in an intellectually challenging education based on powerful ideas, help them toward social maturity, and prepare them for a life of meaningful possibilities and active participation as Australian and global citizens.

 School values

The school’s approach to handling concerns and complaints is based on our values of:

  • Providing a safe and supportive learning environment
  • Building relationships between students, parents and staff
  • Providing a safe working environment for staff.

 

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to:

  • provide an outline of the complaints process at Fitzroy High School so that parents 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 regarding Fitzroy High School are managed in a timely, effective, fair and respectful manner.

Scope

This policy relates to complaints brought by parents, carers, 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 the complainant to another Department of Education and Training process where there are different mechanisms in place to review certain decisions, for example, expulsion appeals.

Policy

Fitzroy High School welcomes feedback, both positive and negative, and 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.

Preparation for raising a concern or complaint

Fitzroy High School encourages parents, carers or members of the community who may wish to submit a complaint to:

  • carefully consider the issues you would like to discuss
  • remember you may not have all the facts relating to 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 Fitzroy High School (see “Further Information and Resources” section below).

Complaints process

Fitzroy High School is always happy to discuss with parents/carers and community members any concerns that they may have. Concerns in the first instance should be directed to:

  • Student’s teacher or Advisory teacher about learning issues and incidents that happened in their class or group
  • Team Leader if students from several classes are involved
  • Assistant Principal about issues relating to staff members or complex student issues
  • Principal about issues relating to school policy, school management, staff members or very complex student issues.

For contact details for any staff member, call the office on 9488 1900.

If you are not sure who to contact, contact the Assistant Principal on 9488 1900.

Where possible, school staff will work with you to ensure that your concerns are appropriately addressed.

Where concerns cannot be resolved in this way, parents or community members may wish to make a formal complaint to the Principal or Assistant Principal. Formal complaints should be directed to a member of the school’s leadership team.

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 and will then convene a resolution meeting with the aim of resolving the complaint together. The following process will apply:

  1. Complaint received: Please either email, telephone or arrange a meeting through the front office with the Assistant Principal or 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, Assistant Principal or nominee 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 or the concerns raised.
  • Response: Where possible, a resolution meeting will be arranged with the Assistant Principal/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 in the event you would like to take further action about it. In some circumstances, the Principal may determine that a resolution meeting would not appropriate. In this situation, a response to the complaint will be provided in writing.
  • Timelines: Fitzroy High School will acknowledge receipt of your complaint as soon as possible (usually within two school days) and will seek to resolve complaints in a timely manner. Depending on the complexity of the complaint, Fitzroy High School 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, Fitzroy High School will consult with you and discuss any interim solutions to the dispute that can be put in place.

Resolution

Where appropriate, Fitzroy High School 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 our school values that are intended to support the student, parent and school relationship, engagement, and participation in the school community.

In some circumstances, Fitzroy High School 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.

Escalation

If you are not satisfied that your complaint has been resolved by the school, or if your complaint is about the Principal and you do not want to raise it directly with them, then the complaint should be referred to the North Western Regional Office on 9488 9488.

Fitzroy High School may also refer a complaint to North Western Regional Office if we believe that we have done all we can to address the complaint.

Communication and Training

The school will make information about procedures for addressing concerns and complaints readily

available to parents and the school community, in clear and easy-to-understand language and, where

appropriate, in a range of community languages and formats that are accessible to everyone so that no one is disadvantaged.

The information will include:

  • How a person can make a complaint
  • The person’s responsibilities
  • Information to be provided by the person
  • Who the person should contact and their contact details
  • The process and timeframes for managing complaints.
  • The school’s procedures for addressing concerns and complaints will be communicated to the school community through appropriate means.

The school will:

  • Brief all members of staff (including volunteers) about its procedures to address concerns and complaints annually
  • Provide staff with (or provide access to) training and support appropriate to their responsibilities under the procedures

Further Information and Resources

For more information about the Department’s Parent Complaints policy, including the role of the Regional Office, please see:  Parent complaints policy.

Monitoring the Parent Concerns and Complaint Policy

The school will monitor parent concerns and complaints and consider issues raised through the parent

complaints process, and any other relevant information from the parent opinion survey, when undertaking a

review of the school’s policies, procedures and operations.

The school council will regularly review its policy and procedures to effectively address parent concerns

and complaints as part of its cyclic policy and procedures review schedule.

The school will review its information about complaints made over time to:

  • Identify common or recurring issues that may need addressing
  • Assess the effectiveness of these and other procedures and whether they are being followed
  • Use information provided to the school through the parent opinion survey on the views of parents.