Dealing with persistent or unreasonable complaints

Serial and unfounded complaints can be time-consuming and stressful for both headteachers and governors. Learn how to manage this effectively and find out where you can get help with particularly tricky situations.

Last reviewed on 27 October 2021
School types: All · School phases: All
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  1. Identify a serial or persistent complaint
  2. Follow your policy
  3. Take all ‘reasonable steps’
  4. Seek support if you need it
  5. Put a communications strategy in place
  6. Stop responding if necessary
  7. Take extra measures if the complaint constitutes harassment
  8. Duplicate complaints from different people

This article is based on the Department for Education's complaints guidance for maintained schools

Academies: please note that while the following guidance doesn't apply to you, you might still find it a useful guide. 

Identify a serial or persistent complaint

Most complaints raised will be valid, and should be treated seriously. However, a complaint may become unreasonable if the:

You should only categorise the complaint itself as being persistent or unreasonable, not the person making it. They may make valid complaints in the future, which you’ll