Complain about a school

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Special educational needs (SEN)

If you want to complain about a school’s SEN support, you should do it while your child is still registered at the school.

This includes complaints that the school has not provided the support required by your child’s education, health and care (EHC) plan.

Before making a complaint, talk to the school’s special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO) to try and find a solution.

If the school does not have a SENCO, ask them who you should raise your concerns with.

If you’re not happy after talking to the school

You can make a formal complaint to the school.

​​Ask the school or check their website for how to make a formal complaint. They may tell you to raise the complaint with your local authority.

Check if the school has an ‘SEN Information Report’. This will usually outline how to complain to them about SEN provision.

If you do not want to make a formal complaint, your local authority may offer a ‘disagreement resolution service’ that can help resolve your disagreement about SEN support. Contact your local authority or check their website for their ‘SEND local offer’ for details.

If the school or local authority cannot solve the problem

You can complain to the Department for Education (DfE) or the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).

Who you complain to depends on the type of school your child attends. Check with the school if you’re not sure.

If the school is an academy or a free school, complain to ESFA.

They can ask the school to take action if they find your complaint was not handled correctly.

For other types of school, complain to DfE.

DfE cannot normally change the decision, but they can look into how it was made and ask the school to take action where appropriate.