2. State schools

State schools include:

  • maintained schools
  • academies and free schools

Contact your local council or call your local police on 101 if you think a child is in danger.

Make a complaint

Follow these steps in order.

Only move on to the next step if your complaint is not resolved.

  1. Follow the school’s complaints procedure - every school in England must have one.

  2. Complain in writing to the headteacher.

  3. Complain in writing to the school’s governing body.

  4. Complain to the Department for Education (DfE).

The school complaints procedure will tell you what kind of complaints the school will deal with, such as bullying or bad behaviour.

You may not be able to complain directly to academies or free schools if you don’t have a child at the school.

Complaints about the whole school

You can complain to Ofsted if you think a school isn’t run properly and needs inspecting. They won’t look into problems with individual students, such as exclusions or not getting a place at the school.

You can only complain to Ofsted if you have already followed the school’s complaints procedure.

You should get a response within 30 working days. It will tell you if Ofsted will investigate or not, and why.

Academies, free schools, university technical colleges or studio schools

You can complain to Education Funding Agency (EFA) if:

  • there’s a problem with the school’s complaints procedure
  • the school is not following the terms of its funding agreement