Last updated:
19 February 2015

Complaining about a school

How the complaints procedure for schools works.

1 Overview

If you are unhappy with something that has happened at a school you should complain to the school first. The procedure is the same whether you have a child at the school or not.

It's important to this before taking any further action as it gives them the opportunity to resolve your concerns informally.

Most complaints are resolved at this stage. However, if your concerns are not resolved you may wish to make a formal complaint.



2 Make a formal complaint

If you do not feel that your concerns have been addressed informally, you may want to make a formal complaint.

Under the Education Act 2002 every school must publish its procedure for general complaints. If you have not already acquired a copy you should ask the school to let you see one.

There are also procedures for complaints on appeals, the curriculum, special educational needs provision, exclusions and admissions.

Staff disciplinary action, child protection issues and criminal investigations are confidential.

More information about making a complaint is available on the GOV.UK website.

3 Approach the school's governing body

If you don't feel that the school has dealt with your complaint fairly, in accordance with its procedure, you must inform the school's governing body. The governors will then investigate the issue for you.

There is no opportunity to appeal against a decision. The school's complaints process has to be followed and if the resolution is not satisfactory you should write to the Secretary of State.

4 Contact the Secretary of State for Education

If you are still not happy after going through the school's complaints process, you can complain to the Secretary of State for Education. 

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