Making a complaint

All schools and colleges are have a procedure for dealing with complaints from parents/carers and pupils. The first step is to follow the school’s own complaints procedure- ask the school/College office for a copy or look on their website.

Most schools/colleges will encourage you to tell them about your issue informally before making a complaint. This is often the quickest way to get your issue resolved. Do ask for a meeting to discuss your concerns, explain why you’re not  happy because and give a brief list of your concerns.

Making a formal complaint

If you’re still not happy, you can make a formal complaint.

You’ll usually need to email or write a letter to the headteacher and to the governing body telling them you’re making a formal complaint. You’ll need to explain the problem and why you’re unhappy with what the school has done about it. You should keep a copy of everything you send.

You should write to the Head Teacher and The Chair of Governors at the school’s address. Explain your reasons for asking the Governing Body’s Complaints Committee to consider your issues. 

Think very clearly about what outcome you would like and write this down.  Some schools will have a template

How to structure a Complaint Letter

  • Your child’s name, date of birth and any additional needs they may have.
  • Details of what you think the school did wrong or did not do.
  • Describe how your child has been affected.
  • Describe how you have been affected.
  • If it is more than three months since you first became aware of the problem, give the reason why you have not complained before.
  • What do you think should be done to put things right?
  • If you have already complained to a member of staff, give brief details about how and when you did this.

Making a complaint to the school or College Governing Body or the local authority

If your formal complaint doesn’t solve the problem, you might be able to complain to your local education authority (LA).

  • Don’t delay
    Complain to the LA as soon as possible after the event. There may be a time limit
  • Make checks
    Make sure you are complaining to the right department
  • Tell them it’s a complaint
    Tell them straight away this is a complaint, and you want it put through the complaints procedure
  • Put it in writing
    It is helpful to put your complaint in writing if you can. Make sure to write ‘complaint’ at the top of your letter or email, so there can be no doubt.
  • Be clear and brief
    Cover all the relevant points, but be as brief as you can. Make it easy to read by using numbered lists and headings to highlight the important issues.

Provide evidence 
Send copies of relevant documents – that will help the complaint officer understand your complaint or provide evidence to support it. Keep notes of any telephone calls about the complaint, including the date and the name of the person you spoke to.