What not to do when you get a complaint

6 common mistakes that governors make when dealing with complaints – and how to avoid them.

Last reviewed on 5 April 2024
School types: AllSchool phases: AllRef: 34754
  1. Don't discuss complaints with complainants yourself
  2. Don't post anything on social media
  3. Don't deviate from your policies 
  4. Don't let school/trust leaders get involved if they're not meant to
  5. Don't share information freely
  6. Don't leave it too late to seek legal advice

The advice in this article came from our governance expert Harry James, as well as Forbes Solicitors.

Don't discuss complaints with complainants yourself

If someone complains to you about your school/trust, don't try and address it there and then. Instead, direct them to your complaints policy. As a governor/trustee, you need to avoid discussions with individuals about school or trust management issues.

For example, if a parent/carer approaches you with an issue:

  • Explain that hearing individual concerns is not a part of a governor/trustee's strategic remit
  • Tell them to follow the complaints procedure to make sure their issue is handled properly
  • If you know who they should contact as the first stage of the process, direct them to this person (it's likely to be their child's class teacher or the headteacher)

You might see the complaint being discussed on social media – especially if you're a parent governor/trustee and are in Facebook