This guidance and advice is for parents/carers of a pupil, members of a school's community or anyone who wishes to make a complaint about a school maintained by Dudley Borough Council.
As academies work outside the Local Authority’s control, complaints about them should be directed to the academy, which should have its own complaints procedure that enables unresolved complaints to be made to the Education Funding Agency; the academy will provide contact details.
Duties of School Governing Bodies: Since 1 September 2003 governing bodies of maintained schools and maintained nursery schools in England have been required, under section 29 of the Education Act 2002, to have a procedure to deal with complaints relating to their school and any facilities or services that the school provides.
However, some complaints are not handled by this procedure, for example, complaints about home to school transport, school admissions, staff grievances, the National Curriculum, etc.; the Local Authority or the school will be able to provide details of the procedures that should be followed in these cases.
A copy of a school’s complaints procedure should be available on its website or a paper copy can be requested from the school. The procedure should consist of four stages and enable verbal or written complaints to be considered by the following people within the school:
It will only be necessary to move a complaint on to the next stage of the procedure, if the complainant is not satisfied with the outcome at the previous stage.
Complaints should not usually ‘leap frog’ any of the stages, but it may be necessary, for example, if the complaint is about the head teacher; in which case it can be considered by the Chair or Vice-chair of the school’s governing body, i.e. at Stage 3, by-passing stages 1 and 2.
Please Note: Schools are only required to consider complaints that have been received within a reasonable time of the incident being complained about or before a specified cut off period. Although it is reasonable to expect complaints to be made as soon as possible after an incident, there may be good reasons for not doing so, which means that in exceptional circumstances schools may still consider a complaint, even if there has been a delay in raising it.
If you remain dissatisfied with the outcome after you have followed the four stages listed above you are entitled to refer the complaint to a number of other bodies, including:
Complaints about academies should be referred to the Education Funding Agency, Ministerial and Public Communications Division, Department for Education, Piccadilly Gate, Store Street, Manchester, M1 2WD. Whilst complaints about all other schools maintained by the Local Authority should be referred to Dudley Council Plus.
The Secretary of State for Education – The Secretary of State can consider the reasonableness of the actions of the school, but he or she cannot overturn the school’s decision. Letters to the Secretary of State should be addressed to The School Complaints Unit at the Department for Education, 2nd Floor, Piccadilly Gate, Manchester, M1 2WD.
NB: As legislation prevents parents, carers and pupils complaining to the Local Government Ombudsman about the internal management of schools, the Ombudsman stopped accepting new complaints after 31 January 2013.