Complaints and Appeals Policy and Procedure
Date : December 2021
1. Our Commitment
e-Qualitas is committed to providing a high-level service to all trainees and partner schools. We encourage all involved in the course provision to give us feedback and to make constructive suggestions on how to improve our work and the quality of training. We seek to avoid the need for complaints by promoting good relationships and communications at all times, acting on feedback including from our quality assurance procedures. However, we recognise that occasionally a trainee or a school may have concerns that they wish to draw to the attention of e-Qualitas. Equally, there may be occasions when a trainee or school wishes to appeal against a decision made in relation to training.
The aim of the policy and procedure is to set out the framework within which complaints and appeals against decisions from trainees or schools will be dealt to ensure that they are acted upon consistently, appropriately and in a timely manner.
This policy and procedure relates to appeals against decisions and complaints from individuals to whom e-Qualitas provides its services including trainees and schools. This procedure does not apply to safeguarding allegations, concerns relating to the prevent duty or whistleblowing complaints, each of which should be raised and dealt with under the relevant policy.
4. Complaints procedure
A trainee who has a complaint about the training should initially raise it with the school-based trainer, and then the lead trainer. If the problem cannot be resolved within the school, the trainee should raise the matter with the visiting tutor. Alternatively, the trainee can ring or email the eQ office for a discussion about the matter causing concern. eQ will follow up by contacting the visiting tutor and the school, to find out more about the problem and to seek a solution.
A complaint about the training provided in the second school should initially be discussed with the appropriate staff of this school. If the issue is not resolved by the second school, it should be raised with the lead trainer of the main school.
If a trainee has a complaint about the visiting tutor, the matter should first be discussed with the school-based trainer and/or lead trainer, who will contact the visiting tutor. If this does not lead to a satisfactory solution, the school should contact eQ, who will investigate the matter. Similarly, a school with a complaint about a visiting tutor must first raise it with the tutor, who will seek to resolve the problem. If an eQ tutor receives a complaint, it should be reported immediately to the Programme Director.
First formal stage
If the complaint is not resolved by discussion between the relevant parties (eg school or trainee and an eQ tutor), the matter should be reported to the Programme Director who will investigate, and try to resolve the issue.
If the involvement of the Programme Director does not resolve the concern, and/or the Programme Director is implicated in the complaint, the complainant should make a formal complaint, in writing, addressed to the e-Qualitas ITT Board.
Second formal stage
The e-Qualitas ITT Board will:
- within 5 working days of receipt of the complaint in writing write to the complainant to acknowledge the formal complaint; and
- convene a meeting of the Complaints and Appeals Committee. None of the Committee members will have had first-hand involvement in the needs assessment or training of the trainee.
The Complaints and Appeals Committee will nominate a member of the committee to investigate the complaint (the Investigating Officer). The Investigating Officer will investigate the formal complaint impartially and will seek and consider the views of all relevant parties, together with supporting evidence. The Investigating Officer may speak with the complainant if any clarification is required. If the complaint involves the work of an e-Qualitas tutor, the tutor will be fully informed and their views and evidence will be sought as part of the investigation.
The Investigating Officer will send a report of the investigation to the Complaints and Appeals Committee as soon as reasonably practicable.
The Complaints and Appeals Committee will consider the investigation report, and reach a decision on how to resolve the complaint. It will confirm its decision to the complainant, in writing, within 5 working days of the decision.
5. Making an Appeal against a training decision
A trainee who wishes to make an appeal against a decision relating to training made by e-Qualitas should first discuss the grounds for the appeal with his or her in-school trainers. They should advise the trainee on whether there are reasonable grounds for appeal. The trainee should then contact the Programme Director, in writing, explaining the grounds for appeal and providing supporting evidence. A school may appeal on behalf of a trainee but should include evidence that the trainee supports the appeal e.g. a signed statement. This first stage of the review will be carried out by the Programme Director, who will check all relevant evidence. If the appeal is upheld by the Programme Director, the trainee and school will be notified and appropriate action will be taken.
If the appeal is not upheld, the Programme Director will refer the appeal to the e-Qualitas ITT Board.
The e-Qualitas ITT Board will convene a meeting of the Complaints and Appeals Committee. None of the Committee members will have had any prior connection with the trainee and his or her training.
The Complaints and Appeals Committee will review the appeal, and all supporting evidence (seeking further clarification or evidence if required). The Complaints and Appeals Committee will make a decision on the appeal, based on all available relevant evidence, and notify the Programme Director.
The Programme Director will notify the school and the trainee of the decision within 5 working days and ensure that appropriate action is taken.
Where a trainee has a complaint or appeal that could have an effect on the trainee’s academic performance on the PGCE academic award programme with the University of Buckingham, the trainee should direct the complaint or appeal to the University of Buckingham. The decision of the University of Buckingham will be final and binding in regard to the assessment and grading of assignments, requests for deadline extensions and final marks. There is no right to raise a complaint or appeal with e-Qualitas in relation to these matters in relation to the PGCE award.
The policy of the University of Buckingham in relation to appealing the mark of an assignment is as follows:
- Any assignment achieving a mark of under 50% can be resubmitted. For assignments one and two, trainees have up to 4 weeks to resubmit. For assignment three, trainees have two weeks to resubmit. All resubmissions are subject to a cap on the final mark of 50%.
- In the event of mitigating circumstances that the trainee was unable to report to e-Qualitas or the University of Buckingham prior to the assignment release date, the trainee can make an appeal to the University Faculty of Education in accordance with their appeals process. The trainee should email SCITT-EDU@Buckingham.ac.uk
- Save as set out above, there is no right to resubmit an assignment or request a remark or appeal against the mark of an assignment to either e-Qualitas or the University of Buckingham.
7. Referral to the OIA
If the trainee teacher is not satisfied with the outcome of their complaint or appeal (having exhausted e-Qualitas’ procedure) they may refer the matter to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) for independent review. When e-Qualitas’ internal procedure for dealing with complaints and appeals has been exhausted, e-Qualitas will issue (if requested) a Completion of Procedures Letter. The referral to the OIA must be made within 12 months of the final decision under e-Qualitas’ procedures.
|Programme Director||Paula Gladwin Paula@e-qualitas.co.uk||0208 051 8774|
|e-Qualitas ITT Board||ITTBoard@e-Qualitas.co.uk||0208 051 8774|
|OIA||www.oiahe.org.uk||0118 959 9813|