Complaints about schools

If you want to make a complaint about a school, the complaint has to be dealt with by the school and its governing body as we have no legal right or duty to deal with these complaints.

Each school has their own complaints procedures and these may be available for you to look at on the school's website. If not, you can ask the school for a copy.

Talking it over first

It is usually better to raise your concerns with your child's class teacher (primary) or their form tutor, subject teacher, or head of year (secondary), before you use the complaints procedure. Often an issue can be sorted out quickly by talking to any one of these.

What to do next

If you've tried speaking to your child’s teacher, tutor or head of year and you are still unhappy you should follow the school's complaints procedure.

The school should acknowledge your complaint and let you know how they will be handling your concerns. The school complaints procedure should set out the timescales on how long they will take to investigate a complaint and provide you with a response.

If the complaint isn't resolved

If you’re not satisfied with how your complaint has been investigated you can make your complaint to the school governors by writing to the chairperson at the school address. If your complaint is about the Head teacher, you can write to the chair of governors.

You can also let us know if you are unhappy with the school and their response to your complaint. We are unable to investigate the complaint itself, however we may share your complaint with education services such as education welfare or behaviour support so that they can support you, your child and the school where necessary.

If your complaint still remains unresolved you can complain to the Department of Education or write to The School Complaints Unit, Department for Education, Piccadilly Gate, Store Street, Manchester, M1 2WD.

Related information

The Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) also investigates certain types of complaints from parents to help them to decide whether to inspect a school, though in most cases you should raise any problems with the school first.

You can find out more on Ofsted's website about how to complain about Ofsted's staff or service.

If you have a concern about the welfare or safety of a child then please tell us about your concerns.  You can get in touch with our safeguarding children in Barnsley team. 

If you have a complaint about Educational Welfare, School Admissions or Special Education Needs (SEN) then please let us know about your complaint.  You can get in touch with our complaints and compliments team.