Complaints policy

The British School of Amsterdam encourages friendly relations and mutual respect throughout the school community. Such an atmosphere is a positive example for the school’s pupils and a necessary foundation for their successful personal, social and academic development.

From time to time, disagreements or problems do arise. Our aim is to resolve such difficulties swiftly and informally, so that good relations may be resumed without delay. However, if that does not prove possible, the following procedure should be followed.

Stage 1: Informal resolution

  • It is hoped that most complaints and concerns will be resolved quickly and informally.
  • If parents have a complaint they should normally, in the first instance, contact the class teacher or subject teacher. If this person cannot resolve the matter alone, he/she may need to consult with their appropriate line manager: in the Early Years School, the Head of Nursery or the Head of Early Years; in the Infant and Junior Schools, the relevant Year Group Leader and in the Senior School, the Head of Key Stage.
  • Complaints made directly to the relevant Head of School (or Deputy Head), or to the Principal, will usually be referred to the relevant person (as above) unless the Deputy/Head/Principal deems it appropriate to deal with the matter personally.
  • In all cases, there will be a written record of complaints and concerns, to include the date received and the action taken. The school will attempt to resolve all informal complaints within three working days.
  • Should a satisfactory resolution not be achieved the parents will be advised to proceed with their complaint in accordance with Stage 2 of this procedure.

Stage 2: Formal resolution

  • If the complaint cannot be resolved on an informal basis, parents should put their complaint in writing to the Principal who will decide, after considering the complaint, the appropriate course of action to take. (Formal complaints made in writing to one of the Heads of School will be passed to the Principal for action).
  • In most cases, the Principal will meet or speak to the parents concerned, normally within five working days of receiving the complaint, to discuss the matter. If possible, a resolution will be reached at this stage.
  • It may be necessary for the Principal to carry out further investigations. The Principal will advise the parents how long the investigation is likely to take. The Principal will attempt carryout the investigation and resolve the issue within five working days. If it is going to take longer he will communicate this to the parents.
  • The Principal will keep written records of all meetings and interviews held in relation to the complaint.
  • Once the Principal is satisfied that, so far as practicable, all the relevant facts have been established, a decision will be made and parents will be informed of this decision in writing. The Principal will give reasons for his decision.
  • If the complaint concerns the Principal, then parents should put their complaint in writing to the Chairman of the Supervisory Board. The Chairman can be contacted either using chairman@britams.nl or by writing to The Chairman, The British School of Amsterdam, 1077 ME Amsterdam.
  • If parents remain unsatisfied with the decision, they should proceed to Stage 3 of this procedure. Parents would be expected to make this request within 28 days.

Stage 3: Integrity Committee (Panel Hearing)

  • If parents seek to invoke Stage 3 (following a failure to reach an earlier resolution), they will be referred to the Chairman of the Education, Welfare and HR Working Group who has been appointed by the Supervisory Board to call hearings of the Integrity Committee. The matter will then be referred to the Integrity Committee for consideration.
  • The Integrity Committee will consist of at least two Supervisory Board members not directly involved in the matters detailed in the complaint and a specifically appointed member of the Committee, independent of the management and running of the School.
  • Each of the Integrity Committee members shall be appointed by the Supervisory Board. A hearing will take place as soon as practicable and normally within 28 working days of referral.
  • The Integrity Committee's remit is to investigate the integrity of the complaint procedure followed and the application of natural justice in the matter under consideration. A complainant may ask one other person who may be a friend, colleague or relative to accompany him/her to any meeting with the Integrity Committee.Legal representation is not usually appropriate.
  • If possible, the Integrity Committee will resolve the parents’ complaint immediately without the need for further investigation.
  • After due consideration of all the facts they consider relevant, the Committee will reach a decision and may make recommendations, which it shall complete within seven days of the hearing.The Integrity Committee will communicate its findings simultaneously to the complainant, the Chairman of the Supervisory Board, the Management Board and Supervisory Board members, and, where relevant to the person(s) about whom the original complaint was raised.

General points

The school will keep records of any formal complaint for three years in the Complaints Log. At all stages of a complaint, the school recognises the need for confidentiality. However, the school reserves the right to consult an appropriate statutory or professional body.

This conforms to Part 7 of the UK Government’s British Overseas School Standards regarding the manner in which complaints are dealt with.