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 will 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's 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're still unhappy you should follow the school's complaints procedure.

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

If the complaint isn't resolved

Most complaints procedures have more than one stage to them. If you’re not satisfied with how your complaint has been investigated you can escalate your complaint to the next stage of the procedure.

If the school’s procedure is modelled on the Department for Education (DfE) complaints procedure, the next stage would result in your complaint being listened to and dealt with by a panel of school governors. If the complaints procedure is not modelled on the DfE procedure, the procedure will outline next steps for you to follow.

If, after going through the school’s complaints procedure your complaint is still not resolved, you will be advised in the outcome letter sent to you by the governing body as to what next steps can be taken. This should advise you to write to The School Complaints Unit, Department for Education, Piccadilly Gate, Store Street, Manchester, M1 2WD. Please note that the Schools Complaints Unit will usually investigate the complaints process, in order to ascertain that it has been followed correctly, and not necessarily the outcome of your complaint.

Related information

If you've 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've 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.