How to manage complaints: checklist and guidance

Complaints can be a big worry for all involved. Be clear on how to investigate complaints about your school and download our checklist to help you carry out a formal investigation.

Last reviewed on 25 July 2023
Ref: 44833
  1. You must have a complaints procedure
  2. First, try to resolve concerns informally
  3. When you receive a formal complaint, carry out an investigation
  4. Get external support, if appropriate
  5. Use of mediation
  6. Your role in the panel (appeal) stage
  7. The role of the ESFA
  8. Record keeping
  9. How to respond to persistent, unreasonable, and group complaints 

You must have a complaints procedure

All maintained schools must have a complaints procedure and publish it on their website. This is set out in section 29 of the Education Act 2002.

Your procedure must: 

  • Cover all complaints about your school, including any facilities or services you provide (though you'll cover some types of complaints in separate statutory procedures – read more about this below)
  • Allow anyone to make a complaint – you can't limit the policy to parents/carers of current pupils only
  • Be tailored to your school – you can't adopt the policy of your local authority (LA) without amendments

Your policy document must clearly set out your procedures – a general guidance document on how to make a complaint isn't enough. 

Your procedure should set out the

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