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
School types: AllSchool phases: AllRef: 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. Your role in convening a panel hearing 
  6. Use of mediation
  7. The role of the ESFA
  8. Record keeping
  9. Responding to persistent, unreasonable, and group complaints 

You must have a complaints procedure 

Academies must have a complaints procedure that:

  • Is in writing
  • Is made available to parents/carers (you should publish it online)
  • Sets out clear timescales for the management of a complaint
  • Covers how you'll handle complaints from parents/carers and pupils at your school – you're not required to follow a procedure for complaints from people who aren't parents/carers of attending pupils, but you're still expected to respond respectfully

This is set out in the best practice complaints guidance from the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).

Download our model complaints procedure – there's also a checklist that