What if I’m unhappy with school?

The first step is to talk to the school and ask for a meeting. Schools usually have procedures for contacting or arranging a meeting with a member of staff. 

If you’re worried about your child’s learning talk to your child’s teacher. Every school also has a teacher with particular responsibility for children with additional learning needs.  This person is called the additional learning needs coordinator. (ALNCO)  They will take your problem seriously and will try to help you sort out any problems as quickly as they can.  Always make an appointment – you have a better opportunity to be listened to than trying to catch a busy teacher during school time.

If this is difficult, put the request in writing.

Before asking for a meeting with the school it’s useful to think about what’s going wrong and what you want the school to do about it.

What you can do to prepare:

  1. Make a note of the issues or questions you have
  2. Think about what would make it better or make you happier
  3. Have information ready about your problem or question.

Attending meetings about your child’s education can be a very positive experience but it can also be upsetting or frustrating for help see our information on Preparing for Meetings

If your child already has an Individual education plan (IEP) an Individual development plan (IDP) or a statement you can also raise your concerns at review meetings which should happen several times each year or ask for an early review.  

If your child doesn’t have a plan in place and you think they would benefit from one, you can ask for a meeting with the school to discuss this.

The school should:

  • Take your problem seriously
  • Involve you and your child and consider your views
  • Explore all the issues and concerns
  • Gather information and clarify the situation
  • Explore options
  • Review your child’s progress
  • Give you information and support if it is needed to help you take part in any of the decision-making or complaints processes
  • Give you the details of the local information and advice or dispute resolution services
  • If necessary prepare and develop an Individual Development Plan and put things in place for your child if they need additional learning provision


Remember –

  • Where possible, make suggestions for discussion about what might help.
  • But if you have any concerns that the school have not addressed – tell them.
  • Chase things up with the school if the agreed action hasn’t happened.

If you have tried meeting with the school but are still unhappy, put your concerns in writing.  Focus on your child’s needs and the impact of the current situation on their learning and well-being.  Make it clear that you want to continue to work together, but that there are things that you are still worried about.  Explain what these things are and what you would like the school to do about them