Not Happy With something in school? The process to follow to get your complaint heard

How to get a complaint heard at school

We can all get to a stage with our child’s school when we are not happy with something. After all, with our children spending so much time in a school environment, there will likely be bumps in the road. Of course, some complaints and issues can be handled straight away, others may need more persistence if you don’t get the resolution you are after. 

For some people, it can be hard to approach the school with any form of negativity. Most parents want to champion their child’s school, praise them, and support them any way they can. But sometimes there are issues that need discussion. But if you are not sure how best to approach the school to advise you are not happy, how do you go about it? There is a process that you can follow to help you ensure that you speak to the right people. Here are a few suggestions to help you get your complaint and issue heard. 

Choose how you want to communicate with your child’s school 

One of the first things you need to consider is how you want to communicate your complaint and the issue that you have. We are all different and some of us feel more confident with a particular communication method. For example, you may find that you can better explain yourself face to face verbally instead of over the phone or through email. Others may find that having the time to consider their words and write them down is easier than it is to verbally communicate. Even talking over the phone can take some pressure away. Decide what option suits you best and then stick to it, unless it is needed for another way. 

Start with the teacher 

The first port of call should always be the teacher. Whether you get on with them or feel that they can’t resolve your complaint, they should still be made aware of what is going on. This can also help to raise support if it is something that will require a higher level of view, such as the headteacher or governing board. In most cases, a teacher will be able to discuss the issues you have and provide support. They will be able to help you and guide you on what can be done to make things better. However, this doesn’t mean to say that the book stops with them. If it can’t be resolved then you have done your part by speaking with them first. 

Speak with the headteacher 

The headteacher should be a point of contact if you have an issue that directly involves the teacher, or you have found that the teacher was unable to resolve your complaint. A headteacher is a very busy person in the school, so it is wise to have explored all avenues before getting them involved. However, it often means that this would be the end of your complaint as they should be able to resolve the complaint that you have. 

Have support for face-to-face meetings 

On a side note if you do decide that you want to have a face-to-face meeting then a great tip is to ensure that you have support. The school will always ensure there is one other person present as support for them in the meeting so it is a good idea to have that extra support yourself. It can be someone impartial, your partner or the child’s other parent, or perhaps another parent who shares the same view. This will help you to feel supported and more at ease in the situation. 

Discuss your issues with other parents (if appropriate to do so)

Sometimes when you have a complaint or issue to raise with your child’s school you won’t be the only parent thinking it. So if it is appropriate to do so, discuss your worries with parents you can confide in. If they do share the same view then sometimes it can give your complaint and issue a bit more gravitas and could help it be resolved quickly. 

Make contact with the governing board 

Finally, if you have exhausted all avenues, or feel that your complaint is directed against the school and its processes then you might want to share your complaint with the governing board. All complaints made will go to the governing board anyway, but a direct complaint to them means they will have to get involved. You may meet the head of Governors with the headteacher. While they have the school’s best interest at heart they are there for the children as well, so they will take a more impartial view and look at the facts. 

Hopefully, this will help you if you want your complaint to be heard at school. 

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