Complaints Policy

Complaints Policy for Oxford University Language Centre

A. Introduction

1.    This procedure covers Complaints associated with both your application for, and study on, a course offered by Oxford University Language Centre. It does not include Complaints covered by the separate procedures listed in section E at the end of this Policy.
2.    Please note there is no right of Complaint over matters of academic judgment.
3.    For informal advice about the Complaints Policy, please email, with the words “Complaints Policy” in the subject line. 

B. General Principles

4.    Information about your Complaint will only be shared with other parties where disclosure is necessary in order to ensure a fair investigation (e.g. your identity will usually be disclosed to a person or body who is the subject of your Complaint).
5.    All parties involved in a Complaint are required to act reasonably, fairly and courteously towards each other and to respect the University’s procedures.
6.    If a Complaint falls across more than one University procedure, the University will deal with the matter as flexibly, fairly and proportionately as possible.
7.    Anyone involved in a Complaint may act through a representative who should usually be a member of the University or a family member (for students or other learners), or a trade union officer (for members of staff).
8.    Time limits should usually be met by all parties. Time limits may be extended by the relevant decision-maker where it is necessary to do so in order to ensure a fair outcome. Any time-critical factors set out in the Complaint will be taken into account as far as possible.
9.    Complaints which are anonymous or made by third parties will only be considered in exceptional circumstances where there are compelling reasons to do so. 
10.   The University may decline to consider a Complaint where the matters in dispute are currently being considered or have been decided by an external body (such as a court or tribunal).
11.   The person determining the Complaint shall not have any conflict of interest in the matter, and if necessary an appropriate substitute will be made for the usual decision-maker.
12.   A reference to a post-holder at the Language Centre means that post-holder or an appointed substitute.

C. First Stage: Informal Resolution

13.    Before raising a Complaint, you should seek to explore your concerns and, if possible, resolve the matter. If your concerns relate to your course, you should do this with your course tutor. If they concern administrative matters such as enrolment, you should do this with the Administration Team (

D. Second Stage: Formal Consideration

Submitting your Complaint

14.    If, after consulting your tutor or the Administration Team, you continue to have concerns, or in cases where such consultation is inappropriate, you can submit your Complaint with supporting evidence to the Language Centre so that it can be directed for investigation by the relevant post-holder as set out as below. Your Complaint may be submitted by email at or by post to Language Centre, 12 Woodstock Road, Oxford, OX2 6HT.
15.    Exceptionally, the Language Centre may consider a Complaint that is made in another format where it is fair to do so.
16.    You should supply the following information in submitting your Complaint.

1.    Title, first name(s) and last name
2.    Email address
3.    The course(s) you applied to take or are taking at the Language Centre
4.    Your degree course (as applicable)
5.    Your department and college (as applicable)
6.    A brief summary of the facts including any key dates (limited to 500 words)
7.    A summary of what you think was wrong (limited to 500 words)
8.    A summary of evidence which supports your Complaint
9.    What steps you have taken to address the Complaint with your tutor or the Administration Team as per the First Stage of this policy. We may decline to consider your Complaint if you have not done this and you do not have a compelling reason for not having done it.
10.    The outcome(s) you are seeking
11.    Please set out any time-critical factors of which the decision-maker should be aware
12.    Confirmation that you agree with the following five statements:
          i.     I have read the Oxford University Language Centre Complaints Policy
          ii.    I understand that the University may need to process personal detail about me, which could include sensitive information, in order to investigate my Complaint
          iii.    I understand that the University may need to exchange information about my Complaint within the University and Colleges, and with other persons and organisations, including the submitted Complaint and my accompanying evidence where necessary (for example, to collect information or to seek statements from relevant persons or bodies)
          iv.    I will inform you immediately if any part of my Complaint is being dealt with in a Court or Tribunal
          v.    The information I am submitting is true, correct and complete, to the best of my knowledge.

13.    You should submit your Complaint as soon as possible and at the latest within 28 calendar days of when the matters you are complaining about occurred.


Reviewing your Complaint

17.    Complaints will be referred to a decision-maker as follows (collectively, “the Language Centre”):

•    Regarding Modern Language courses, to the Head of Modern Languages 
•    Regarding Academic English courses, to the Head of Academic English
•    Regarding administrative matters, to the Departmental Administrator
•    Complaints which concern the Departmental Administrator, the Head of Modern Languages or the Head of Academic English, to the Director of the Language Centre

18.    You will be asked for evidence that you have tried to address the matter under the First Stage of this policy and the Language Centre may decline to consider your Complaint if you have not done so.
19.    The Language Centre will acknowledge Complaints made under the Second Stage within five working days.
20.    The Language Centre may decline to consider your Complaint if it is trivial or repeats a Complaint that has already been made. 

21.    For all other Complaints, the Language Centre may take any steps which are considered necessary to investigate, including calling on any person to provide specialist assistance.
22.    The Language Centre will usually send details of the matter to anyone who is a subject of the Complaint.
23.    If you withdraw your Complaint at any time the Language Centre may decide to continue the investigation if it is appropriate and fair to do so.
24.    The Language Centre will usually complete the investigation, make a decision and send you a decision letter within 20 working days of acknowledgment of the submission of the Complaint. If the time limit needs to be extended, the Language Centre will keep you updated about the progress of the investigation.
25.    In the decision letter, the Language Centre will explain what steps have been taken, the reasons for the decision and any directions and/or recommendations. 
26.    The decision letter is the end of the University’s procedures and will set out other sources of advice and support available to you as appropriate.
27.    The Language Centre will also notify the outcome to anyone who is a subject of the Complaint and any University bodies that need to be made aware of it.

E. Separate Complaint Procedures

The following types of complaints or appeals have separate procedures:

•    Behaviour of members of staff amounting to harassment (see the University Harassment Policy)
•    Complaints or appeals for on-course students (see the University's Complaints and appeals procedures)
•    Behaviour of students (see Student Conduct and the University Harassment Policy)
•    Freedom of Information requests.

Date of issue: 17 March 2022