Complaints policy

Statement of intent

Polstead Preschool believes that children and parents are entitled to expect courtesy and prompt, careful attention to their needs and wishes. We welcome suggestions on how to improve Preschool and will give prompt and serious attention to any concerns about the running of Preschool. We anticipate that most concerns will be resolved quickly by an informal approach to the appropriate member of staff. If this does not achieve the desired result, we have a set of procedures for dealing with concerns.

This policy constitutes Polstead Preschool’s formal Complaints Procedure. It will be displayed on the premises at all times.

Under normal circumstances, the Supervisor will be responsible for managing complaints. If a complaint is made against the Supervisor, the Chair will conduct the investigation on behalf of the Committee. All complaints made to staff will be recorded in detail in the Incident Record Book.


We aim to bring all concerns about the running of Preschool to a satisfactory conclusion for all of the parties involved.


To achieve this, we operate the following complaints procedure. All Ofsted-registered provisions are required to keep a summary log of all complaints that reach stage 2 or beyond. This is to be made available to parents as well as to inspectors.

Making a complaint

Stage 1

  1. Any parent who has a concern about an aspect of Preschool’s provision, e.g. an activity, or about the conduct of an individual member of staff, they first of all talk about his/her worries and anxieties with the Supervisor.
  2. Most complaints should be resolved amicably and informally at this stage.

Stage 2

  1. If this does not have a satisfactory outcome, or if the problem recurs, the parent moves to Stage 2 of the procedure by putting the concerns or complaint in writing to the Supervisor and the Chair of the Management Committee. Relevant names, dates, evidence and any other important information on the nature of the complaint should be included.
  2. The setting will acknowledge receipt of the complaint as soon as possible - within 3 working days at least - and fully investigate the matter within 15 working days. If there is any delay, Preschool will advise the parent/carers of this and offer an explanation.
  3. The Committee will be responsible for sending them a full and formal response to the complaint within 28 days.
  4. For parents who are not comfortable with making written complaints, details of the complaint will be recorded with the Supervisor or Committee and signed by the parent.
  5. Preschool stores written complaints from parents in the child’s personal file. However, if the complaint involves a detailed investigation, Preschool may wish to store all information relating to the investigation in a separate file designated for this complaint.
  6. When the investigation into the complaint is completed, the Supervisor or Committee meets with the parent to discuss the outcome.
  7. When the complaint is resolved at this stage, the summative points are logged in the Complaints Summary Log.

Stage 3

  1. If the parent is not satisfied with the outcome of the investigation, he or she requests a meeting with the Supervisor and the Chair of the Committee. The parent may have a friend or partner present if required and the Supervisor should have the support of the Chair of the Management Committee, or another suitable person from the Management Committee.
  2. An agreed written record of the discussion is made as well as any decision or action to take as a result. All of the parties present at the meeting sign the record and receive a copy of it.
  3. This signed record signifies that the procedure has concluded. When the complaint is resolved at this stage, the summative points are logged in the Complaints Summary Log.

Stage 4

  1. If at the Stage 3 meeting the parent and Preschool cannot reach agreement, 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.
  2. The mediator keeps all discussion confidential. S/he can hold separate meetings with Preschool personnel (Supervisor and Chair of the Management Committee) 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.

Stage 5

  1. When the mediator has concluded her/his investigations, a final meeting between the parent, the Supervisor and the Chair of the Management Committee is held. The purpose of this meeting is to reach a decision on the action to be taken to deal with the complaint. The mediator’s advice is used to reach this conclusion. The mediator is present at the meeting if all parties think this will help a decision to be reached.
  2. A record of this meeting, including the decision on the action to be taken, is made. Everyone present at the meeting signs the record and receives a copy of it. This signed record signifies that the procedure has concluded.

The role of Ofsted and the Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board

  • Parents may approach Ofsted directly at any stage of this complaints procedure. In addition, where there appears to be a breach of the Preschool’s registration requirements, it is essential to involve Ofsted as the regulatory body.
  • Contact details for Ofsted can be found on their website.
  • If a child appears to be at risk, our Preschool follows the procedures of the Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board.
  • In these cases, both the parent and Preschool are informed (unless the procedures above indicate otherwise) and the Preschool Supervisor works with Ofsted and/or the County Council’s Children and Families Assessment Team to ensure a proper investigation of the complaint, followed by appropriate action.


A record of complaints against our Preschool and/or the children and/or the adults working in our Preschool is kept, including the date, the circumstances of the complaint and how the complaint was managed.

The outcome of all complaints is recorded in the Complaints Summary Log, which is available for parents and inspectors on request.

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