Complaints about schools or academies


Complaints about schools or academies

If you are a parent who wishes to complain about any aspect of the school and regarding your child, you should first attempt to resolve directly with the relevant leads in the school.

All complaints about a school or academy must go through the school or academy complaints procedure. The complaints procedure can be found on a school or academy's website.

We cannot investigate school matters on behalf of a parent, nor can we review how the school has dealt with a complaint. If a complaint is still not resolved after following the school's complaints procedure, write to the Secretary of State for Education.

How to complain

Some schools and academies will differ but most will act in accordance with the following stages.

Informal contact - complaint heard by a member of staff (informal)

Contact the school or academy and try to sort out the problem informally, speak to your child's teacher about your concern in the first instance.

Stage 1 - complaint heard by the head teacher (formal)

If your concern can't be resolved informally, write to the head teacher. It will give the head teacher time to make enquiries if you include:

  • brief details of what your concern is about
  • who you have spoken to already
  • if there has been a particular incident, when and where it happened and who was involved or saw it happen
  • what you expect the school to do in response to your concerns

Stage 2 - complaint heard by chair of governors (formal)

If you are still dissatisfied, or your concern is about the head teacher, write to the chair of governors.

Stage 3 - complaint heard by governing body's complaints appeal panel (formal)

If you are still dissatisfied after the chair of governors has investigated your complaint you can write to the clerk to the governing body to ask for your complaint to go before the appeal panel.

Final stage

You can complain to the Department for Education (DfE)if:

  • a child is at risk
  • a child is missing school
  • the school is stopping you from following its complaints procedure

Best practice guidance for schools from the DfE

The Department for Education (DfE) has published Best Practice Advice for Schools Complaints Procedures 2020. The guidance outlines procedures for dealing with complaints and includes a model complaints procedure for governing bodies to tailor to their school.

Last updated 17 June 2024