If you are fed up with your child's school and you want to complain, this is how to do it:

    1. Talk to your child's Class Teacher or Head of Year. They should be able to sort it out for you.

    2. Get a copy of the school's Complaints Policy. The school should always use it and the staff there will usually try to help you.

    3. Go and see the Head Teacher. Make an appointment, if necessary. You will usually find that the Head is a kind and helpful cove, willing to listen and always wanting to make your school a better place.

    4. Write a letter to the Chair of the School Governors. Mark your letter COMPLAINT. Tell them your story and say what you want them to do about it. Very often, your complaint will be heard by a small group of School Governors.

    5. If you are still not getting anywhere, the next stage is different at state schools and at independent schools: At an independent school, your options are limited, but you could try writing to the school's Inspectorate. This works particularly well if an inspection is already due and the inspectors are coming soon! Some independent schools have Ofsted Insepctions; others can use authorised private consortia. Many use the Independent Schools Inspectorate.

    6. If the Inspectors cannot or will not help, you can write to the (government) Department for Education, asking them to de-register the school and close it down. This level of complaint won't help your child, of course, and the best course of action, if you really find it unbearable, is often to move your child to a better school. Take some legal advice, though, about the consequences on next term's fees and the option of suing the school for breach of contract.

    7. See a solicitor. Find one who is a specialist in Education Law. Note that Nicholas Hancox has retired and is NOT TAKING ON ANY NEW WORK.

    NB. If your complaint is about a refusal of admission or about a school exclusion, expulsion or suspension, you may have a right to 'appeal' instead of sending in a 'complaint'. It's a different process.