All pre-schools have a formal complaints procedure and this is often displayed and/or is available in the prospectus.
Talk over your concern at the pre-school
If you have a concern about an aspect of the pre-school's provision talk it over with the key worker first of all. Most complaints should be resolved amicably and informally at this stage. If you still have concerns after a few weeks then ask for a copy of the policy that particularly applies to your concern, e.g. the policy on bullying, or special educational needs and request another meeting with the key worker and either the special educational needs co-ordinator if your complaint is related to your child's stammer, or the pre-school manager if it is related to organisational or other issues. If your child is placed with a childminder ask her to invite her link colleague at the local authority.
- At this stage you are talking informally but it is still helpful to make sure that you have written down concerns to remind you of dates of incidents and, if applicable, names of children and staff involved. Refer to the policy that you believe particularly refers to your concern.
- When you outline your concerns from your notes remember to be very cautious about making accusations against named children or staff that you cannot support with any evidence.
- Be tactful and make it clear that you are simply anxious to find out what is upsetting your child and that you understand that your information is based on allegations. Show that you understand you may not have the full picture yet and are willing to hear both sides of the story.
- Try to keep as calm as possible, and work out with the staff a strategy that makes sense to you with a sensible time limit for its completion.
- Agree with the staff that you will be given information about the actions taken and the final resolution of your complaint.
Most complaints will be satisfactorily dealt with at this informal stage. If you are still concerned and wish to continue to the next stage there is advice available.
Organisations that can offer support and advice
The BSA can provide information about stammering and its effects on children and provide you with information and support during the complaints procedure.
Parent partnership services provide accurate and unbiased information on the options available to you. They may provide you with training to guide you through complaints procedures and processes or link you to organisations and groups that can help. You can find your local parent partnership service through your local authority or the National Parent Partnership Network.
Independent parental supporters can help you through the complaint procedures. They work under the guidance and supervision of your local parent partnership service and are usually trained volunteers. While an independent parental supporter helps you understand what is happening, they will not make decisions about your child. Although your local parent partnership service should be able to give you access to an independent parental supporter, you can also choose a friend, a parent or someone from a voluntary organisation to support you. You may request that you are accompanied to significant meetings by any of these.
An independent parental supporter may help you by:
- explaining your rights and responsibilities
- finding further sources of information, support and advice for you
- helping you to understand what is happening during SEN procedures and processes such as School Action, assessment and statementing
- helping you to prepare for and attend visits and meetings
- helping you to make phone calls, fill in forms and write letters and reports
- helping you to express your views and communicate with schools and local authorities
- listening to your worries and concerns
- providing you with ongoing and general support.
More information on pre-school bullying
Education.Comm - Bullying in pre-school
Overcome pre-school bullying
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Text for this page: Stage 1: Talk over your concern at the pre-school
Text for this whole section: When you have to make a formal complaint