Handling persistent or aggressive complaints from parents

Read about best practice for dealing with persistent or aggressive complaints from parents. Find out how to use your complaints procedure to close a complaint and stop responding.

Last reviewed on 3 April 2024
School types: AllSchool phases: AllRef: 10176
  1. Take informal steps first
  2. Communicate your complaints procedure
  3. Close serial or persistent complaints and stop responding
  4. Manage aggressive behaviour separately
  5. Don't allow group complaints

Take informal steps first

Try to resolve complaints informally and promptly in the first instance.

You'll want to:

  • Prioritise careful communication with parents to make sure complaints don't develop further
  • Enter all conversations with an open mind and a positive, friendly attitude to prevent aggressive behaviour

Start with a face-to-face meeting (where possible) with the complainant, the subject of the complaint, and appropriate senior leaders. To help resolve the issue, and depending on how severe the complaint is, you could ask the following people to also be present:

  • The headteacher or chair of governors, to demonstrate you're taking the issue seriously
  • A member of staff familiar to the parent or child, such as a form teacher, to help create a relaxed and sympathetic environment
  • Someone external, such as a staff member or governor from a nearby school, to act as an unbiased mediator

Hold the meeting in an informal environment like a

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