Dealing with complaints: a summary for boards

Get a summary of the rules on handling complaints – including against the headteacher, governors, trustees and chair – and see a quick overview of how the process usually goes.

Last reviewed on 31 July 2023
Ref: 42889
  1. Your school must have a complaints procedure
  2. The process for academies
  3. Complaints against heads, chairs, trustees and governors
  4. Anonymous complaints

Your school must have a complaints procedure

Academies must have a complaints procedure to handle complaints from parents and pupils. It must be in writing, be made available to parents, and set out clear timescales for the management of the complaint.

This is required by schedule 1, part 7 of the Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014, and explained in the DfE's best practice guidance for academy complaints procedures.

It's good practice for your policy to: 

  • Be available online (and your funding agreement might actually require you to publish it online)
  • Cover complaints from people who aren't parents of attending pupils

Your school's procedure should set out the difference between:

  • A concern: an expression of worry or doubt over an issue considered to be important
  • A complaint: an expression or statement of dissatisfaction about actions taken or a lack of action

Your policy should have

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