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Education Complaints


Complaints about school

Speak to the teacher

Schools have responsibility for most of the services they provide. In most cases, the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead has no power to intervene. You should speak directly to the school, using the school's own complaints procedure, if you are concerned about areas including:

  • Your child's academic progress
  • Special educational needs provision at school
  • Your child's welfare at school
  • Bullying
  • The running of the school and management of the school budget
  • School policies, including uniforms, rules, meals and time off school
  • The community's use of school facilities
  • External services run by the school, eg adult learning or after school clubs
  • The behaviour of staff or pupils outside the school.

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, for example, body piercing or hairstyles; or about lateness; or about not being allowed to take your child out of school, please note that schools have a right to insist that their rules are followed. If parent or pupils refuse to follow the rules, this can result in isolation or exclusion.

The Advisory Centre for Education (ACE) has some useful information on their website.

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.

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 & Confidential' and hand it in to the school.
  • Stage 3 - the schools' procedures normally also offer an appeal to the governing body's complaints review 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

For most complaints, you cannot take your appeal further than the governing body. (But see below for exceptions.)

If you feel that the school has acted unreasonably in relation to your complaint, or has not followed the correct procedures, you can write to the Department for Education (DfE).

Exceptions - complaints about the curriculum, religious matters or charging for extras

In general, the local authority cannot investigate school matters on a parent's behalf nor can it review how the school has dealt with your complaint. However, in relation to the exceptions below you can ask the local authority to become involved. This will only happen once the school's own complaints procedure has been exhausted:

  • The National Curriculum and how it is applied in the school
  • Religious education and/or worship in the school
  • The way the school charges for extra things such as school trips.

If you would like advice about the school complaints process, please contact our Complaints Co-ordinator on 01628 796721.

Complaints about education services provided by the Council's Children's Services department

The Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead provides a range of education services to pupils and their parents or carers, such as:

  • Assessments, support and advice by the educational psychology, education welfare and behaviour support services.
  • Education other than at school, for pupils unable to attend school.
  • Admission and transfer arrangements.
  • Planning of school places.
  • Special Education Needs (SEN) assessments.
  • Home to school transport.

In some cases there may be a legal right of appeal to an independent tribunal or panel. These include SEN assessments; admissions; exclusions; and home to school transport.

For all other complaints about the local authority's education service, the Royal Borough's corporate complaints procedure will apply.

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Modified: 2015-08-12
Published: Wed, 12 Aug 2015 20:46:38
Author: Allison Helyer
Editor: Allison.Helyer
RDCMS ID: 3190