Complaints About Schools
The vast majority of concerns and complaints about a school are dealt with immediately and satisfactorily through informal discussions with your child’s class teacher. Schools encourage this through their own individual ethos and effective communication systems.
When you have concerns about a school, it is important that you raise them as soon as possible with the relevant members of staff in order to try to resolve any issues promptly.
Three months is generally considered to be an acceptable time frame in which to lodge a complaint. The school, however, may wish to consider such complaints if it would be unreasonable to expect the complainant to have made the complaint earlier.
What do we mean by complaint?
Generally, a complaint about a school is when a parent, carer or member of the public is dissatisfied with the actions or lack of action of a school. Examples of types of complaints can be:
A complaint can be made using various forms of communication including: by letter, telephone / e-mail, and by a parent or carer in person. Writing to the school is the preferred method and gives you the opportunity to be clear what the complaint is about and to identify the outcome you would like to achieve.
What the complaint procedure does not cover
There are certain complaints that fall outside the remit of a school’s complaint procedure for which there are specific statutory regulations and other local authority (LA) mechanisms, such as:
Who to contact
• Admissions to schools
• Statutory assessments of Special Educational Needs (SEN)
• School re-organisation proposals
• Matters likely to require a Child Protection Investigation
Concerns should be raised direct with local authorities (LA). For school admissions, it will depend on who is the admission authority (either the school or the LA). Complaints about admission appeals for maintained schools are dealt with by the Local Government Ombudsman.
• Exclusion of children from school
Further information about raising concerns about exclusion can be found at: www.gov.uk/school-discipline-exclusions/exclusions.
Schools have an internal whistleblowing procedure for their employees and voluntary staff. Other concerns can be raised direct with Ofsted The Department for Education is also a prescribed body for whistleblowing in education.
• Staff grievances and disciplinary procedures
These matters will invoke the school’s internal grievance procedures. Complainants will not be informed of the outcome of any investigation.
• Complaints about services provided by other providers who may use school premises or facilities.
Providers should have their own complaints procedure to deal with complaints about service. They should be contacted direct.