Montessori Evaluation and Accreditation Board

Complaints Policy

For Montessori settings participating in MEAB accreditation

Purpose

MEAB is committed to providing a supportive quality assurance process in which complaints from settings engaged in MEAB accreditation are responded to promptly through a transparent, accessible and fair complaints procedure.   The MEAB Board views complaints as an opportunity to review and improve its processes, believing that constant feedback is an important ingredient in self-improvement and raising standards.

The following principles will apply at each stage of the process:

  • In a spirit of mutual understanding MEAB will seek to resolve complaints by informal means in the first instance.
  • Should circumstances require a formal response; the complainant will have access to the names of the members of the team who are responsible for dealing with their complaint.
  • Investigations will be full, fair and swift and all parties will be kept informed of progress, timescales and the decisions reached.
  • Confidentiality will be respected.   Every effort will be made to respect confidentiality wherever possible within the constraints of the need to fully investigate the complaint.
  • At the end of the procedure the complainant shall be provided with a clear response regarding how the complaint has been resolved.

MEAB will keep a record of both the complaints and the resolution of them, and will review this policy every three years.

The complainants are strongly encouraged to raise any issues they have at an early stage as delay may cause problems during the investigation of the complaint, and may limit the scope and effectiveness of the response.   Complaints should be lodged no later than one month after MEAB accreditation or re-accreditation has been validated by the MEAB Board and the accreditation status uploaded on the MSA database of schools.


Montessori Evaluation and Accreditation Board

Complaints Procedure

In the first instance, complainants should consult the MEAB office on an informal basis within a month of either the first or second accreditation or re-accreditation assessment visits. Contemporaneous notes will be made of the details of the complaint and all endeavours made to resolve the complaint at this stage. Should circumstances indicate a more formal response the MEAB office  will provide guidance on how to make a written complaint about MEAB accreditation processes.

Step 1 – Chief Education  Officer

Written complaint, made no later than one month after MEAB accreditation or re-accreditation validated by the MEAB Board, should be addressed to the  Chief Education Officer, who will consider the nature of the complaint with another member of the Report Monitoring Group and will endeavour, upon due investigation, to offer written explanation and local resolution of the complaint.   This should happen within 10 working days of receipt of this written complaint.

If the formal complaint has not been resolved to the satisfaction of both parties, it should then be directed to the Chair of the MEAB Board within 10 working days.

Step 2 – Chairman of MEAB Board

Where it has not been possible to resolve a complaint with the Chief Education Officer, the complainant may refer the matter to the Chair of the MEAB Board. This step should only be taken once the step one has been exhausted. The complaint shall be made in writing no later than 10 working days upon receipt of the response from the Chief Education Officer, with a request that it is dealt with formally and confirming that the local resolution channels detailed above have been explored without success.   The Chair of the MEAB Board will appoint a committee of no less than two Board Members to consider the complaint and provide a written response within 28 working days.

When a complaint is to be considered, the MEAB Chair and committee will refer to the previous local resolution of the complaint and will investigate the matter and the conclusion will be sent in writing to the complainant within 28 days.  

Step 3 – Appeals to Independent Adjudicators

If a complainant wishes to appeal against the decision of the MEAB Chair s/he shall submit such an appeal to Independent Adjudicators, appointed by the Montessori St Nicholas Charity within 10 working days of the outcome being notified.

The complainant must set out grounds for the appeal and the case for consideration.   Where an appeal is considered to be invalid by the Independent Adjudicators, they shall notify the complainant in writing, providing reasons for the decision and the complainant shall have no further right of appeal.   The appeal shall not involve a re-consideration of the complaint but merely a consideration of the evidence provided. The decision of the Independent Adjudicators will be final.   The outcome of the appeal will be notified to the complainant by no later than 28 working days after the submission of the appeal.

Arrangements for monitoring and evaluation

All complaints and the action taken will be documented and a summary included in the MEAB Chairman’s report to the MEAB Board, with advice on any future implications for procedure.

Details of all complaints considered and determined at local levels will be shared with the Chair of the MEAB Board.   Details of complaints dealt with under the formal procedure will also be the subject of such monitoring and reported to the Montessori St. Nicholas Charity via the termly report to the Education Committee of the Board of Trustees.

Records of complaints and their outcomes will be kept confidentially by the MEAB office for three years following the first notification of the complaint under the local resolution procedure.

Date policy adopted by MEAB Board: 20 November, 2013

Date reviewed 23 March, 2017

Date for next review: March 2020