How to make a complaint to your child's school

Follow the school’s complaints procedure - every school in England must have one.

Follow these steps in order. Only move on to Step 2 if your complaint is not resolved.

Step 1 - Complain in writing to the headteacher.
Step 2 - Complain in writing to the school’s governors or academy trustees.

The school complaints procedure should be published on the school’s website. It should tell you what kind of complaints the school will deal with.

These may include:

  • Bullying at school
  • School attendance and absence
  • School discipline and exclusions
  • Teacher misconduct
  • Provision (including SEND provision)

You may not be able to complain direct to academies or free schools if you do not have a child at the school.

After you have followed the school’s complaints procedure

After following Step 2, if you are still unsatisfied, you can complain to the Department for Education (DfE).

Complain about how a whole school is run

You can complain to Ofsted if you think a school is not run properly. You must have already followed the school’s complaints procedure.

You should get a response within 30 working days. It will tell you if Ofsted will investigate or not, and why.

If your child has an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan

If your child has an EHC Plan, disagreements you have with the Council regarding their EHC assessment or provision should try to be resolved through Disagreement Resolution.

If you are unhappy with the EHC Plan

Mediation must be available to any parent or young person who is not happy with the final version of their Education, Health and Care Plan.

If you remain unhappy with a decision made by the Council

The Tribunal (part of the First-tier Tribunal [Health, Education and Social Care Chamber]) hears appeals against decisions made by Local Authorities in relation to children’s Education, Health and Care (EHC) assessments and plans.

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