Disagreements, complaints and compliments about schools and education settings
Sometimes, no matter how hard services and families try to work together, there will be times when you do not agree with decisions made or how services are working for your child and family.
This article explains what you can do if you have a disagreement, complaint or compliment regarding a school or education setting.
Your experiences are very important as they help schools and education settings understand how they are doing.
If you have a concern about your child and you are unhappy with their education, you can arrange to meet with either their class teacher, Head of Year, Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo) if your child has special educational needs or Head Teacher.
You may feel that school staff could benefit from a greater understanding of your child’s difficulties and what impact they have on their education. You can share your knowledge with them, as you know your child better than anyone else.
Before the meeting, make sure that you know what interventions are being used with your child and how their progress is being monitored. Keep detailed notes of the meeting and any actions agreed, including what is going to be put in place, who is doing it, how often and for how long and when you will review.
If after raising concerns, you are still not happy, you can ask for the school or education setting‘s complaints procedure. This will detail how you can complain and the process you would need to follow. Write to the school with details of your complaint. Remember to keep a copy of the letter. Most complaints are dealt with successfully at this stage. If you have problems writing, telephone the school and ask them to help you make a complaint. If you are complaining about the Head teacher, or if you’re not happy with the way that the Head teacher has dealt with your original complaint, you need to send your complaint to the Chair of Governors who can be contacted via the school. The governing body should investigate and report back to you.
If, after these steps have been followed, you consider the school governors have not followed the school’s complaints procedure, you can contact the Department for Education (DfE), addressing your complaint to the Secretary of State. You should include all relevant documentation including correspondence.
Certain specific education issues are the Council’s responsibility. If you have concerns about any of the following, please contact the Council’s Complaints & FOI Team on 01454 865924 or email CAHfeedback@southglos.gov.uk:
- admission to a school
- school transport
- home tuition
- special educational needs (see below)
Ofsted (the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills) also has a role in investigating complaints about the work of schools as a whole. Examples include:
- the school is not providing a good enough education
- the pupils are not achieving as much as they should, or their different needs are not being met
- the school is not well led and managed, or is wasting money
- the pupils’ personal development and well-being are being neglected
Complaints about matters relating to an individual child cannot be considered. It can consider complaints from parents (or some carers) of pupils registered at the school the complaint is about.
If your child has an Education, Health and Care plan (EHCP), the interventions and support in the plan should be put in place by your child’s school.
If they are not, you can:
- arrange to meet with the school SENCo.
- speak to the Head Teacher
- contact the 0-25 Education Case Coordinator for your child
Equally any compliments can be made directly to the school and school governors.
If you disagree with the outcomes of an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) Needs Assessment or you are unhappy with the EHC plan process or provision identified in the plan or annual review you have a right to appeal.
Your child’s Education Case Coordinator will inform you of your right to appeal in writing.
If you are unhappy with the service you have received from the 0-25 Education team who coordinate the EHCP process, or you wish to give feedback and it is not relating to the content of the EHCP, this can be done through the council's feedback and complaints procedure.