When you have to make a formal complaint
All pre-schools have a formal complaints procedure and this is often displayed and/or is available in the prospectus. There are five stages in this procedure and most complaints are sorted out informally at Stage 1.
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.
Parent partnership services provide accurate and unbiased information on the options available to you. They may provide you with advice to guide you through the 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
Independent parental supporters can help you through the procedures involved in making a formal complaint. 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.
More information on pre-school bullying
Education.Comm - Bullying in pre-school
Overcome pre-school bullying
If the parent and the pre-school have not reached agreement at Stage 4 an external mediator is invited to help to settle the complaint. This person should be acceptable to both parties, listen to both sides and offer advice. A mediator has no legal powers but can help to define the problem, review the action so far and suggest further ways in which it might be resolved.
Staff or volunteers within the Pre-school Learning Alliance, the local authority Early Years service or similar are appropriate persons to be invited to act as mediators.
The mediator keeps all discussion confidential. S/he can hold separate meetings with the pre-school manager and the parent, if this is decided to be helpful. The mediator keeps an agreed written record of any meetings that are held and of any advice s/he gives.
At Stage 5 the mediator's conclusions and advice are discussed with the parent and the pre-school and hopefully the complaint is resolved.
The role of the Office for Standards in Education, Early Years Directorate (OFSTED)
Parents may approach OFSTED directly at any stage of this complaints procedure but should certainly do so if a complaint is not resolved at stage 5.
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