It is implicit within the College Mission Statement that a positive working relationship and partnership between the College and families is the basis of our College community. To this end a process to deal with complaints and grievances is crucial in order to provide a fair and just approach to concerns raised.
In an organisation the size of St Patrick’s College, complaints or grievances may cover a wide range of issues. Parents and other members of the College community may, from time to time, wish to complain or make comment about a College matter. They may, for example, be unhappy with a College policy or with a particular staff member.
It is important that such complaints are dealt with sensitively, confidentially and effectively. The matter must be resolved as soon as possible and in a way which treats all parties with dignity and respect. It is important to note that anonymous complaints will not be accepted or acted upon.
If deemed necessary in the professional judgement of the Headmaster (or Executive or another senior staff member), a complaint may be addressed in a more formal manner.
The first point of contact for parents can often be the College Receptionist. The College Reception has a responsibility to direct calls to the appropriate member of staff. Calls are noted in order to track the time, source and nature of the call.
In general terms, issues relating to academic concerns are directed initially to the Subject Teacher and then to the Subject Coordinator and issues relating to a pastoral or student management issue are relayed to the Homeroom Teacher and then to the Year Coordinator.
It is also important to note that the Deputy Headmaster, Pastoral Care Coordinator, Curriculum Coordinator and the Headmaster are available and can be contacted if a satisfactory response or resolution is not reached through the above channels.
In the instance where a complaint is made against a staff member, the staff member concerned must be informed of the complaint. Teachers and other staff members are entitled to know the details of the complaint against them, including the name of the person raising the complaint as well as the specific details of the complaint.
The staff member concerned must be given the opportunity to respond prior to any action being taken in response to the complaint.
Where there is a meeting of the staff member concerned with the Headmaster, student/s or other staff members in relation to the complaint, the staff member must be told in advance the purpose of the meeting and who will be attending the meeting.
The staff member must be given the opportunity to be accompanied by a staff member of their choice.
Where action is taken, the staff member must be involved.
It a matter is not raised with the staff member involved, then the matter cannot be raised at a later date or as part of another incident, as the staff member has not been given a right of reply.
If the complaint is not resolved through the conciliation process, the Headmaster must make a decision based on the substance of the complaint, all relevant information and any relevant policy.
All academic issues concerning assessment, School Certificate or HSC information should be directed to the Curriculum Coordinator. The Curriculum Coordinator also deals with appeals which are lodged with the Board of Studies. If the complaint is not resolved, the Headmaster will seek resolution, as outlined above.
In the instance where a student has a pastoral or other concern, they should seek an appointment with their Homeroom Teacher or Year Coordinator to discussed the issue, or where necessary the Pastoral Care Coordinator. The College Counsellors are also available for such discussions.
At St Patrick’s College, in all instances, the focus of effective complaint resolution is conciliation and acknowledging the rights of all concerned. While acknowledging the absolute importance of maintaining procedural fairness.