Child A was 8 when he was accused of stealing food from his boarding school kitchen. We asked the school why the boy was so hungry and whether other boys were also taking food on night-time raids.

Child B was bullied at her prep school, where Mum worked part-time and was reluctant to complain. We advised on alternatives for the girl’s education and she has now settled in happily at her local state primary school.

Child C was accused of sexually assaulting another boy. We advised the accused child’s parents on how best to protect their son and safeguard his ongoing education.

Child D hated her independent sixth form and left after only three days. The bursar demanded two whole terms’ fees. We advised the parents on whether it was best to fight the school or to ‘pay up and move on.

Child E was falling behind, because her primary school teacher could not cope. What rights do parents have when the state school lets them down like that? We helped the parents to a better education.

See also our Special Needs web page

How to Complain about Your Child's School

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 a state school, you can try writing to the Director of Children's Services at the Local Authority, especially if the service you are complaining about was provided by them.

    6. The Local Ombudsman will examine some aspects of complaints about the following matters, but note that, if there is a formal appeal process, it is best to engage with that appeal process first.

    • School admissions and allocations
    • School transport
    • Special education needs
    • School exclusions and
    • Home tuition disputes

    Further information on Ombudsman complaints about schools can be found on the Ombudsman's website

    7. You can also (in many cases) complain to the (government) Department for Education about a state school, but not if you went (or could or should have gone) beforehand to the Local Ombudsman. In any event, you usually have to use the local complaints system first. If you do complain to the DfE, the Department may refer the case to Ofsted for investigation and report.

    8. See a solicitor. Find one who is a specialist in Education Law. Note that Nicholas Hancox Solicitors Ltd is NOT TAKING ON ANY NEW EDUCATION LAW MATTERS in 2019. We have no spare capacity.

    NB. If your complaint is about a school admission or a permanent school exclusion, you really need to 'appeal', rather than 'complain'. It's a different process.