There may be times when, as parents, you will have cause to complain about issues that arise at your child's school. There are a number of reasons why this may happen from bullying to the standard of education being delivered. As parents you have the right to submit a complaint and all schools must have a written complaints procedure that is made readily available to parents upon request. However, there are different procedures to follow depending on the type of school.
In the first instance it is important to try and resolve matters internally as parents are often looking for practical solutions to their problems. Failing a resolution at the first stage, parents are encouraged to diligently follow the complaints procedure which requires you to set out your complaint in writing. If the school fails to deal with your concerns internally and you feel that the Board of Governors and/or the Local Authority have acted unreasonably, you can escalate the matter to the Secretary of State. This is only relevant for schools that are not Academies. If the school is an Academy and you have exhausted the internal procedures, the matter can be escalated to the Education Funding Agency.
Complaining to Ofsted
Parents can also complain to Ofsted about an issue which is likely to affect the whole school rather than an isolated issue affecting their child. This could include issues with the quality of education or poor management at the school. Ofsted will, however, expect you to have exhausted the internal complaints procedures first, including writing to the Secretary of State where applicable. Ofsted will only consider a “whole school” issue if, for example, it could lead to an inspection of the school.
Complaining to Independent Schools
For independent schools, you should request a copy of the complaint procedures and write to the school first. If you remain dissatisfied with the response received, you can pursue your complaint in writing to the Independent and Boarding Team at the Department for Education.
Post 16 Provision
For post 16 provision, parents should write to the institution itself first. If you remain dissatisfied, you can write to The Skills Funding Agency.
Local Government Ombudsman
The Local Government Ombudsman can no longer investigate complaints about the management of the school (from 31 July 2012) but can still investigate a number of school related issues such as school transport, admissions and allocations, exclusions, some aspects of Special Educational Needs and complaints about tuition at home.
The team at Match Solicitors have assisted many parents through internal complaints procedures.
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