How to manage complaints: checklist and guidance
Be clear how to investigate complaints about your school in a thorough and timely manner. Download our checklist to help you carry out a formal investigation, and know what to include in your complaints procedure and when to seek external support.
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- You must have a complaints procedure
- First, try to resolve concerns informally
- Carry out an investigation when you receive a formal complaint
- Download our checklist for investigating formal complaints
- Get external support, if appropriate
- When to use mediation as part of your procedure
- Your role in the panel (appeal) stage
- If still unsatisfied, the complainant can refer the issue to the DfE
- Keep records of complaints
- 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.
Download our model complaints procedure – there's also a checklist if you prefer to update or write your document.
A concern - an expression of worry
- 5 tips for effective parent communication
- Aggressive parents: zero tolerance posters
- Handling persistent or aggressive complaints from parents
- Handling requests to withdraw pupils on religious grounds
- Parents' complaints about other families: how to respond
- Recording conversations with staff
- Separated parents: rights and responsibilities
- Social media: how to deal with negative comments or behaviour by parents