Complaints, compliments and comments

School complaints

You need to follow these steps to complain about a school:

  1. Talk to the school directly
  2. Complain to the headteacher
  3. Complain to the governors
  4. Complain to Ofsted

1. Talk to the school directly

If you have a concern or complaint, you should contact an appropriate member of staff at the school. This may be the class teacher or subject teacher.

They can investigate your complaint or concern and give you a response that clearly says what action or monitoring they will do. At this stage, misunderstandings can usually be cleared up. Everyone benefits from the speedy resolution of difficulties and suggestions for improvement.

If you don't agree on a solution to your complaint, you can then complain to the headteacher.

2. Complain to the headteacher

If your complaint is about the headteacher, you should skip this step and complain to the governors instead.

You'll usually need to complain in writing directly to the headteacher. However, each school will have a complaints procedure which will tell you who to direct your complaint to and when you could expect a response by.

You should ask for a copy of the school's complaints procedure which should tell you how the school will investigate the complaint. An investigation into your complaint should be carried out by the appropriate person.

When all the relevant facts have been established, you should receive a written response.

Find a school to make a complaint

3. Complain to the governors

If you're still not happy with the outcome after complaining to the headteacher, a further investigation of your complaint should be carried out by the chair of governors or the governing body's complaints committee. 

The complaints committee should carry out a detailed investigation into the complaint. 

  1. A meeting is arranged. Everyone involved should receive copies of all available documents about the complaint.
  2. You should be invited to attend the meeting to make your case - you may bring a friend or someone to represent you. The headteacher should also be invited to put the case for the school. The headteacher will be able to bring a friend or professional representative. You and the headteacher will be invited to speak to the panel of governors to ask and answer questions. The panel normally allows witnesses to attend part of the meeting.
  3. You should be informed in writing about what the panel have decided to do about your complaint.

4. Complain to Ofsted

Finally, the Education and Inspections Act 2006 gives Ofsted powers to investigate complaints from parents about schools.

You can only complain to Ofsted if you still feel your complaint is not resolved and the complaint is about one of these areas:

  • The school is not providing a good enough education.
  • Pupils are not achieving as much as they should, or their needs are not being met.
  • The school is not well led and managed or is not using its resources efficiently.
  • Pupil personal development and wellbeing are being neglected.

Complain to Ofsted

When you can complain to us

Most concerns or complaints are of a general nature and are dealt with by the school under their own complaints procedure.

However, you should tell us if your concerns or complaints about:

  • The provision of the national curriculum
  • The provision of religious education and collective worship - except for church aided schools
  • School admission appeals
  • Exclusions
  • Special educational needs assessments
  • Child protection issues and allegations of child abuse