Advice for parents

School reporting structures

School hierarchies vary depending on whether they are a maintained school, academy or independent school.

All schools should have a complaints procedure on their website or available on request from the school office. It should have further information about how to escalate a complaint if necessary. Follow their complaints procedure step-by-step.

All schools will have class teachers/form tutors, and more senior staff. In larger primaries and secondary schools, there will be a head of year. Above them will be the head teacher.

If you need to escalate a complaint beyond the head teacher, this is where to go next.

State schools

Maintained: Board of Governors. Make a complaint in writing to the school’s governors explaining what has happened and what steps you have taken to resolve the problem. The school office is required to provide you with contact details for governors..

Academies: Panel. Make a complaint in writing to the academy trust, and allow for a panel hearing to be set up by the academy trust when the parent is not satisfied with the outcome of the written complaint. The panel must include at least three people who are not involved in matters detailed in the complaint. One member of the panel must be independent of the management and running of the school.

What next?

For both state schools and academies, once this process has been exhausted parents can complain to the Department for Education via their Complain About A School form.

Your complaint should set out the facts, and explain why the school or college’s formal complaint procedure failed to resolve matters. You should explain why the school or college’s actions are unreasonable or unlawful. You should also provide evidence, including copies of any letters or emails which show what has happened.

If you believe the issue is affecting the whole school, with numerous pupils being bullied or a safeguarding concern which affects many pupils, you can complain to Ofsted.

You may also wish to contact local MP; find their contact details at TheyWorkForYou.com.

Independent schools

Check your school’s complaints procedure. Look through your contract with the school to see whether the school has breached any of the terms. You may need to consult a solicitor specialising in contract law.

Once all options have been exhausted, contact the Independent Schools Inspectorate. You can also complain to the Department for Education if you believe the problem to be school-wide.

Parent Advice Line

Guidance and support for parents and carers of children facing a bullying situation. Call 020 7823 5430 (Mon-Thurs, 9am-1pm, calls charged at local rate) or email the Parent Support Adviser.

ZAP assertiveness workshops (in the community) for young people aged 9-16

6% of young people experience bullying daily. A ZAP workshop offers practical assertiveness skills so that young people are able to deal with bullying situations effectively.

Find out more

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