Coronavirus: school complaints
The Department for Education (DfE) has clarified that it does not expect schools to handle new or existing complaints whilst they are closed.
Complaints can be considered once the government confirms schools can safely reopen. The updated guidance can be found at:
All maintained schools and maintained nursery schools must have a procedure for dealing with complaints, relating to the school, which are not covered by other statutory complaints procedures.
Academies will have their own procedures for dealing with complaints. These should be available from the academies themselves.
What is a complaint
A concern or complaint will be investigated if it is an expression of dissatisfaction about:
- the conduct/operation of a school
- the conduct, actions or lack of action by a member of staff, the Governing Body or an individual governor
- an unacceptable delay in dealing with a matter
- the unreasonable treatment of a pupil or other person
Whilst all complaints should, in the first instance, be addressed to the Headteacher or, where appropriate, the Chair of Governors, some complaints have to be handled differently because of legal requirements. These include:
complaints about the provision of National Curriculum, sex education or Collective Worship in an individual school
appeals against school admissions and pupil exclusions
the statementing process for special educational needs
serious complaints relating to the abuse of children, criminal or financial matters.
How to make a complaint
A concern or complaint should be made in person, by telephone or in writing to the Headteacher at the School. If the complaint is about the Headteacher or a Governor it should be referred to the Chair of Governors of the school.
A complaint made to a Governor, Local Authority Officer or Councillor or to a local area education office will be referred to the Headteacher or Chair of Governors, as appropriate, for investigation. Anonymous complaints cannot be dealt with unless they are about very serious matters.
How complaints investigated
The aim of the Complaints Procedure is to resolve the matter as speedily as possible.
First the Headteacher will try to establish the facts and respond to your complaint. Most matters can usually be dealt with in this way. If this does not resolve the matter to your satisfaction, there is a further formal stage. You will be asked to put your complaint in writing and a further investigation will be undertaken by the Headteacher. In the case of a complaint about the Headteacher, or a Governor the matter will be dealt with by the Chair of Governors.
You can appeal to a special Committee of the Governing Body of the school. You may, if you wish, have the opportunity to attend and put your case to the Committee. The Committee will inform you of their final decision.