Complaints & Dispute Resolution

INTRODUCTION

St Mark’s Anglican Community School (the School) welcomes suggestions, feedback and comments from parents, students or staff, and takes all complaints and concerns seriously.

The School is committed to ensuring the safety, welfare and well-being of all children and people at the School. We want children to be safe, happy and empowered. We have zero tolerance of child abuse, and all allegations and safety concerns will be treated very seriously and with consistency. We will always give priority to any complaints involving the safety, welfare and well-being of students.

This policy deals mainly with procedures for parents (and guardians), the community and students (including past students). This policy does not cover complaints from staff members about aspects of their employment.

Parents will often wish to raise issues on behalf of their children.  There are other issues which students may choose to raise on their own behalf, and which are best raised by them.

What is a Complaint?

A complaint is ‘An expression of dissatisfaction made to the school about its services, decisions, actions or those of its staff, or about the complaint management process itself.’

A complaint or concern may be raised about the School as a whole, a specific department in the School, about a particular School activity, about an individual member of staff, about one or more students, or about another member of the School community.

All complaints will be handled seriously.

Commitment

We recognise parents and students have a right to complain and our aim is to ensure that:

  • students, parents and the community wishing to make a complaint know how to do so;
  • a child-focused, child-friendly, culturally safe dispute and complaint process is adopted;
  • complaints are received in a positive manner and the outcome, the complainant or the subject of the complaint is not pre-judged;
  • concerns are dealt with promptly and thoroughly and those who have raised them are kept informed about progress;
  • all complaints are handled on their merits;
  • a child-focused, child-friendly, culturally safe dispute and complaint process is adopted;
  • the complaint process allows complaints to be made face-to-face, by email, by telephone call, a letter or a meeting.
  • parents and students can expect to be taken seriously and can approach any member of staff about their concerns;
  • training is provided to staff and volunteers on the dispute and complaint process;
  • complaints made by parents will not rebound adversely on their children and similarly, complaints raised by students will not rebound on them or on other students;
  • confidentiality is respected and maintained so far as is possible;
  • a resolution of the matter is sought, with the parties directly involved, at the local level;
  • children, young people, families, communities, staff and volunteers are engaged in the review processes and provide feedback on review outcomes;
  • complaints are recorded and regularly analysed in order to identify causes or systemic weaknesses;
  • mandatory reporting obligations when receiving, responding to and investigating complaints of child harm or abuse are adhered to;
  • the dispute and complaint processes are reviewed annually, or after an event and participation of children and young people is sought in this review.

The Director General

The Director General of the Department of Education is responsible for ensuring that the School observes the registration standards, including the standard about its complaints handling system. Any student, parent or community member is entitled to contact the Director General with concerns about how the School has dealt with a complaint. Information is available on the Department of Education website. While the Director General may consider whether the School has breached the registration standards, she does not have power to intervene in a complaint or override the School’s decision.

To view the detailed policy, please download the Complaints & Dispute Resolution Policy here.