Education complaints

How to make a complaint about schools, colleges and universities.

Make a complaint about a school service

Each school is required to have a published complaints procedure.

These are generally in 3 stages:

  1. You should first talk to the class teacher about your concern.
  2. If the class teacher can't solve it and you wish to progress this to a formal complaint, contact the head teacher next.
  3. If the head teacher can't solve it, contact the governing board. You can do this by writing to the clerk to governors. Your school's complaints procedure will have information on how to do this.

All schools including academies must have a complaints policy. The local authority (LA) doesn't stipulate the steps of the process itself. The LA has a model complaints policy schools can use, but each school makes its own policy.

Referring a complaint

If you aren't satisfied after following the complaints procedure, refer your complaint to the Secretary of State for Education. This link also contains advice and guidance about how to register your complaint.

You'll receive a confirmation email from the Department for Education (DfE). This will include a case number for your reference. The DfE will contact you when they've looked into your complaint.

I'm unhappy about a school refusing to offer my child a place

If a school has refused your child a place, you have the right to appeal the decision.

You should contact the School Admissions Team for an appeals form:

The team can give further advice on:

  • the appeal procedure in community schools
  • information about school vacancies in Brighton & Hove

Make a complaint about a college or university

You first need to make a complaint to the college or university. The college or university can tell you how to do that. You can resolve most complaints quickly in this way.

If you aren't satisfied after that, some colleges and universities will allow someone outside the organisation to look at the case. Contact the college or university for more information.