Make a complaint about a school

How to raise a concern or make a complaint

Any concerns you have about your child’s education can normally be settled by speaking to the headteacher or other member of staff. You can do this in person, in writing or over the phone.

They will take your concerns seriously and make every effort to resolve matters as quickly as possible. If you are not sure who to speak to, contact the school office.

You should not approach individual governors to raise concerns or complaints – they have no power to act on an individual basis and it may prevent them from considering formal complaints later on.

If the issue has not been resolved and you wish to make a formal complaint, you should refer to the school’s complaints procedure. You will find this on the school website or contact your school office to request a copy.

Formal complaint

The school complaints procedure will tell you how to make a formal complaint. This is usually by completing a complaint form or writing a letter. You should make it clear:

  • Why you are complaining.
  • Who you have spoken to already.
  • What you want to happen as a result of your complaint.

Complaints about school staff should be addressed to the headteacher.

Complaints about the headteacher should be addressed to the Chair of Governors.

Complaints about the Chair of Governors, governors or Governing Body should be addressed to the Clerk to the Governing Body.

All correspondence should be sent via the school office and marked ‘private and confidential’.

Anonymous complaints

Schools do not investigate anonymous complaints unless the headteacher or Chair of Governors thinks it is appropriate.

How long will it take to deal with a formal complaint?

Timescales for dealing with formal complaints are detailed in the school complaints procedure for each stage.

The headteacher or Governing Body will acknowledge receipt of the complaint by letter or email. They will keep a written record of any meetings or interviews in relation to their investigation and keep you up to date with timescales.

They will tell you how and when to escalate the complaint to stage 2 if you are not satisfied with the outcome of stage 1.

What can I do if I am not happy with the school’s and governing body’s responses?

Providing you have followed the school complaints procedure you can submit a complaint to the Department for Education (DfE) online or write to:

Department for Education
Piccadilly Gate
Store Street
M1 2WD

Telephone: 0370 000 2288

The DfE will not normally overturn any decisions made by the school but they will consider whether the school has adhered to education legislation and any statutory policies connected with the complaint.