Complaints procedures for governing boards

Find guidance on the procedure for convening a complaints panel, procedures for a hearing, and the role of the clerk and complaints panel chair.

Last reviewed on 25 April 2022
School types: AllSchool phases: AllRef: 40840
  1. Stages of the procedure
  2. Who should be involved and when 
  3. The panel meeting - requirements
  4. Procedure for the panel meeting
  5. Tips for conducting the interviews
  6. After the panel meeting
  7. The clerk is the panel’s point of contact
  8. Clerks: use our template letter to share the outcome 

The guidance below is set out in the best practice complaints guidance from the Education Skills and Funding Agency (ESFA) and part 7 of the Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014. Make sure to check your own complaints procedure before taking any steps regarding appeals panels, as it may differ.

Stages of the procedure

Your school's complaints procedure must consist of at least 3 stages:

  1. Informal stage. This is often a meeting between the complainant and the subject of the complaint, most relevant person, or headteacher 
  2. Formal stage. This usually involves the complaint being put in writing to the headteacher, who will investigate and try to resolve the issue
  3. Panel stage. The complaint progresses to a meeting where the matter is discussed in front of a panel with an independent panel member, and the panel makes a judgement 

This depends on the subject of the complaint. To be sure that all complaints are handled fairly, different people