Complaining to the school
Speak to the teacher
Speak to the relevant member of staff as soon as you have a concern. In a primary school, this may be the class teacher; in a secondary school it may be the form tutor or head of year.
This informal approach is nearly always the quickest and most effective way of resolving your concerns.
If your complaint is about school rules on uniform, body piercing or hairstyles, or about lateness, or about not being allowed to take your child out of school during term time, please see our notes on school rules.
Ask for the school's complaints procedure
If you feel that your concern has not been answered, ask the school for a copy of its complaints procedure. This will explain what you should do next.
All schools including Academies will have a complaints process. Most schools' complaints procedures have three stages which should be followed in sequence.
Stage 1. Speak to or write to the headteacher (or, in some schools, a designated senior member of staff), who will look into your concern.
Stage 2. Write to the chair of governors if you are unhappy with the headteacher's response. Mark your letter 'Private and Confidential' and hand it in to the school.
Stage 3. The school's procedures may also offer an appeal to the governing body's complaints panel. This panel consists of three governors who have no prior knowledge of your complaint and will consider written and verbal submissions from you and the headteacher.
Taking your complaint further
When you have exhausted the school complaints process, if you feel that the school has acted unreasonably or not followed the correct procedures in relation to your complaint, you can write to the Secretary of State for Education.
Types of School
Academies: independently managed, all ability schools set up by sponsors from business, faith or voluntary groups in partnership with the Department for Education and the local authority.
Community schools: maintained by Hampshire County Council as the local authority.
Voluntary (controlled) schools: run by the local authority, but the building/grounds are owned by a voluntary foundation, usually religious, which appoints some of the governors.
Voluntary (aided) schools: as voluntary (controlled) but the governors employ the staff and set the admissions criteria.
See guide to types of school for more.