Complaints about Schools

Who can complain?

The person who makes the complaint must either be the person receiving the services or a person complaining on behalf of the person receiving the services. This can include children and young people, their parents, carers or legal guardians or someone who has the permission of the person receiving the services to represent them.

Maintained Schools

Firstly, you should get a copy of the Schools Complaint policy.  This should be on their website.  (Sometimes it is best to search “name of school Complaints Policy) as sometimes the policy is well hidden!).

In accordance with Section 29(1) of the Education Act 2002, all maintained schools and maintained nursery schools must have and publish procedures to deal with all complaints relating to their school and to any community facilities or services that the school provides, for which there are no separate (statutory) procedures.

Surrey’s model complaints procedure is as follows:

Stage 1

  • Express concern to appropriate member of school staff. 

This maybe the SENCo.

If no satisfactory outcome then:

Stage 2

  • Contact the Headteacher to investigate complaint.

If no satisfactory outcome then:

Stage 3

  • Contact the Chair of Governors to investigate complaint.

If no satisfactory outcome then:

Stage 4

  • Contact the Clerk to Governors for a Complaint Review by governors.

You can also request the LA Area Schools Officer (ASO) to assist with resolving concerns and/or complaint if the school ‘buys in’ to their support.

You could write to the Secretary of State for Education.  The Secretary of State is responsible for the work of the Department for Education, including:

  • early years
  • children’s social care
  • teachers’ pay
  • the school curriculum
  • school improvement
  • academies and free schools
  • further education
  • higher education and
  • apprenticeships and skills.

The online form can be found here:

You are also able to email Ofsted:

Online complaints form: https://contact.ofsted.gov.uk/online-complaints

Ofsted will not usually consider a complaint if you have not first followed the school’s or academy’s, local authority’s or Education Skills and Funding Agency’s complaints procedure. This includes writing to the Secretary of State for Education.

Academy/Free School

If the school is an academy and you feel that the governing body or board of trustees have acted unreasonably about your concerns, you can write to the Education Skills and Funding Agency (ESFA):

The Education and Skills Funding Agency

Cheylesmore House

Quinton Road

Coventry

CV1 2WT

Or email: complaints.ESFA@education.gov.uk

Independent school or a place that provides education only for students aged over 16

Ofsted cannot consider complaints about independent schools or places that provide education only for people over the age of 16. Independent School Inspectorate (ISI) carry out inspections: https://www.isi.net/

For independent schools you should write to the school first. Further guidance on complaints procedures for independent schools can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/complain-about-school/private-schools

For provisions that provide education only for people over the age of 16, you should write to the provision first. If you are unhappy with their response, you can send your complaint in writing to:

The Education and Skills Funding Agency

Cheylesmore House

Quinton Road

Coventry

CV1 2WT

Or email: complaints.ESFA@education.gov.uk