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 4 February 2022
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 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 your headteacher 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 and Forbes Solicitors.

Don't discuss complaints with complainants yourself

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

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

  • Explain that hearing individual concerns is not a part of governor's strategic remit
  • Tell them to follow the school's 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 (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 and are in Facebook or WhatsApp groups with other