The Franconian International School, in pursuing its Mission and Vision, and adhering to the Philosophy and Objectives, prides itself on the quality of the teaching and pastoral care provided to its students.
All members of the FIS community should contribute to a respectful, inclusive and compassionate atmosphere where differences and even the most difficult challenges can be overcome in a spirit of good faith and open communication.
The home-school partnership (see appendix) plays an essential role in facing challenges and mastering problems, and an open dialogue between parents and staff is strongly encouraged. Through this partnership, either the teacher or the parent can raise concerns about any issues that affect a student’s well-being and/or academic performance, and work together to resolve them. In rare cases where the issue cannot be resolved informally, an official written complaint can be registered by a parent with the school management.
This procedure document describes how concerns and complaints from parents are dealt with at the FIS in a thorough, documented and transparent process. This is a whole school procedure and applies to Early Years, Elementary, Middle and High Schools. This procedure can only apply to a parent’s personal experience. It cannot apply to hear-say, rumors or on behalf of another person.
A flow chart at the end of this document gives an overview of how parents should proceed if they have concerns about their child’s wellbeing or academic performance. The process for addressing concerns and resolving complaints has been divided into three stages:
- Stage 1 Informal
- Stage 2 Formal
- Stage 3 Appeal
Informal Resolution (stage 1)
It is hoped that most complaints and concerns will be resolved quickly and informally in the spirit of a good home-school partnership.
If parents have a concern about their son/daughter’s well-being or progress, they should contact the teacher concerned, eg. class teacher (EY and ES), subject teacher, advisor or homeroom teacher (in MS and HS). Teachers at the FIS are responsible for the student’s pastoral and academic care and will deal with the concern in a professional and responsive manner.
If the matter cannot be resolved, it may be necessary to consult as appropriate:
- Head of Early Years
- Head of Department
If a resolution is still not found, then the matter will be referred to the section Principal or Curriculum Director if appropriate.
Concerns raised directly to the Board of Directors, Director or section Principal will be referred back to the teacher involved, unless the Director/Principal deems it appropriate to deal with the matter personally.
In case of a concern with non-teaching staff, the parent should contact the employee concerned. If the matter is not solved, the parent should contact the Head of Administration.
The teacher, non-teacher or administrator will aim to resolve the issue within a reasonable amount of time and usually within 2 weeks. The parent will be kept informed of progress. After this time, and should the matter not come to a satisfactory resolution, then parents will be advised to proceed with a formal complaint in accordance with Stage 2 of this procedure.
Formal Resolution with an Official Complaint (stage 2)
If the complaint cannot be resolved on an informal basis, then parents should put their complaint in writing using the complaint form which is available from the Director. The Director will discuss the matter with the complainant. If possible, a resolution will be reached at this stage. It may be necessary for the Director to carry out further investigations. These investigations may be delegated, as appropriate, to one or more other senior members of staff.
The complaint must be made in writing using the official form within three months of when the issue first arose, or, where a series of associated incidents have occurred, within three months of the last of these incidents.
At each stage in the procedure, the Director will seek ways in which a complaint can be fully resolved within a reasonable amount of time. Complaints may be acknowledged as valid in whole or in part. Complainants are encouraged to state what actions they feel might resolve the problem at any stage.
Once the Director is satisfied that, so far as is practicable, all of the relevant facts have been established, a decision will be made and parents will be informed of this decision within a reasonable amount of time from receipt by the school of the official complaint form. The Director will also give reasons for his/her decision.
Written records of all meetings and interviews held in relation to the complaint will be kept. If parents are still not satisfied with the decision, they should proceed to Stage 3 of this Procedure.
Appeal Hearing by the Complaint Panel (stage 3)
If parents seek to invoke Stage 3 (following a failure to reach a resolution in stages 1 and 2), they will be referred to the Secretary to the Board of Directors, who has been appointed by the Board of Directors to call hearings of the Complaints Panel. They must register that wish, in writing, to the Secretary to the Board of Directors within five working days of receiving the School Director’s decision. The matter will then be referred to the Complaints Panel for consideration.
The Secretary to the Board of Directors will convene a meeting of the appropriate committee. The Secretary to the Board of Directors, on behalf of the Panel, will then acknowledge the complaint and schedule a hearing that includes the complainant to take place as soon as practicable. This will usually be within ten working days of receipt of the complaint by the Secretary to the Board of Directors.
The Complaint Panel will consist of at least three persons not directly involved in the matters detailed in the complaint, one of whom shall be independent of the management and running of the school. Each of the Panel members shall be appointed by the Board of Directors.
The Panel will be provided with all documents from Stage 2. The complainant may be accompanied to the appeal hearing by one other person. Legal representation will not normally be appropriate.
After due consideration of all the facts they consider relevant, the Panel will reach a decision and may make recommendations, which it shall complete within five working days of the Hearing. The decision of the Panel will be final. The Panel’s decision, findings and, if any, recommendations will be sent in writing to all relevant parties within five working days of the appeal hearing.
Conduct and Records
Parents can be assured that all concerns raised and complaints made will be treated seriously and confidentially and that the act of making a complaint does not have any negative consequences. The school staff and parents are required to conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times and with mutual respect.
A written record of all formal complaints will be kept by the Director including the dates of attempted informal resolution, formal resolution and, if relevant, Complaint Panel resolution.
Correspondence, statements and records will be kept confidential except where any other legal obligation prevails.