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Gilsland C.E. School

Unreasonable Complainants


Whilst we recognise that some concerns may relate to serious and distressing incidents, we will not accept threatening or harassing behaviour, and will take steps, supported by legal action as appropriate, to ensure that the school can continue its work safely and securely.

What is meant by 'an unreasonably persistent complainant’?

An unreasonably persistent complainant may be anyone who engages in unreasonable behaviour when making a complaint. This will include parents and carers who pursue complaints in an unreasonable manner. Unreasonable behaviour may include:

actions which are  o out of proportion to the nature of the complaint, and/or  o persistent – even when the complaints procedure has been exhausted, and/or

o personally harassing, and/or unjustifiably repetitious and/or  

an insistence on  o pursuing unjustified, groundless complaints and/or o unrealistic outcomes to justified complaints and/or  o refusing to accept the decision and/or  

an insistence on  o pursuing justifiable complaints in an unreasonable manner (eg using abusive or threatening language; and/or  

o making complaints in public; and/or  o refusing to attend appointments to discuss the complaint and/or o refusing to specify the grounds of the complaint and/or  o refusing to accept that issues are not within the remit of the complaints procedure or insisting that complaints are dealt with in ways which are incompatible with the adopted complaints procedure and/or  

o actions which include changing the basis of the complaint o and/ or denying statements previously made  o and/or introducing new information and/or making unnecessarily excessive demands on the time and resources



What is ‘harassment’?

We regard harassment as the unreasonable pursuit of issues or complaints, particularly if the matter appears to be pursued in a way intended to cause personal distress rather than seek a resolution. Behaviour will be considered harassment if:

o it appears to be deliberately targeted over a significant period of time at one or more members of school staff or others, without good cause;

o the way in which a complaint or other issues is pursued (as opposed to the complaint itself) causes ongoing distress to school staff or others;

o it has a significant and disproportionate adverse effect on the academy community, interfering with the daily business of the education of pupils.

School’s response to unreasonably persistent complaints or harassment

The school will make the following response:

o inform the complainant informally that his/her behaviour is now considered by the school to be unreasonable or unacceptable, and request a changed approach

o If no change is forthcoming, inform the complainant in writing that the school considers his/ her behaviour is unacceptable, what action is being taken and the duration of that action.

o require all future meetings with a member of staff to be conducted with a second person present: in the interests of all parties, notes of these meetings may be taken

o inform the complainant that, except in emergencies, the school will respond only to written communication  

Where a complainant continues to behave in a way which is unacceptable, the school may decide to terminate contact with that complainant and discontinue any investigation into their complaint.  However the school will seek to limit any detriment to any pupils, as far as is reasonable within these circumstances e.g. access to parents evenings, newsletters, and any other correspondence.

Physical or verbal aggression

The school has a duty of care to its staff and pupils and will take emergency measures should these become necessary in extreme cases.

The school will not tolerate any form of physical or verbal aggression against its staff.  If staff are subject to this type of aggression the school may:

o ban the individual from entering the school site, with immediate effect o prosecute under Anti-Harassment legislation

Vexatious Complaints

There will be occasions when, despite all stages of the procedures having been followed, the complainant remains dissatisfied. If the complainant tries to reopen the same issue, the Chair of the Governing Body is able to inform them in writing that the procedure has been exhausted and that the matter is now closed. If the complainant writes again on the same issue, then the correspondence may be recognised as vexatious and there will be no obligation on the part of the school to respond.  

It is important to note, however, that should a complainant raise an entirely new and separate complaint that it will be responded to in accordance with this complaints procedure.

Barring from the School Premises  

Although fulfilling a public function, schools are private places. The public has no automatic right of entry. The school will therefore act to ensure that the school and other premises remain a safe place for pupils, staff and other members of their community.  

If a someone’s behaviour is a cause for concern, the school can ask him/her to leave school premises. In serious cases, the headteacher can notify them in writing that their implied licence to be on school premises has been temporarily revoked subject to any representations that they may wish to make. Schools should always give the person involved the opportunity to formally express their views on the decision to bar in writing.

The decision to bar should then be reviewed, taking into account any representations made by the person involved, and either confirmed or lifted. If the decision is confirmed the person involved should be notified in writing, explaining how long the bar will be in place.  

Anyone wishing to complain about being barred can do so, by letter or email, to the headteacher or Chair of the Local Governing Body, as appropriate. However, complaints about barring cannot be escalated to the Department for Education. Once the school’s complaints procedure has been completed, the only remaining avenue of appeal is through the Courts; independent legal advice must therefore be sought.

Gilsland Church of England Complaint form





Gilsland Church of England Complaint form (Appendix A)


Please complete and return to ………………………………………………. (name of staff member) who will acknowledge receipt and explain what action will be taken.


Your name:


Pupil’s name:


Your relationship to the pupil:






Day time telephone number:



Evening telephone number:



Please give details of your complaint. (continue on a separate page if necessary)

























What action, if any, have you already taken to try and resolve your complaint. (e.g. Who did you speak to and what was the response?








What actions do you feel might resolve the problem at this stage?






Are you attaching any paperwork?  If so, please give details.










Official use:  

Date acknowledgement sent:  

By who:  

Complaint referred to:  















Appendix A