Complaints procedure

How to complain to the ESFA.

Before you start

If you have a problem with a school, college, training provider, or employer that we fund, you’ll need to follow these three steps, before you get in touch with us:

  1. Start by trying to resolve the issue, informally, direct with the school or organisation involved.

  2. If you’re not happy with their response, make a formal complaint (through to appeal), direct to them. All state schools and colleges should have a complaints procedure. Ask them for a copy, or check their website. Keep copies of everything you send and receive.

  3. If you’re still not happy after that, check that we can handle your complaint.

For help and support with making formal complaints to schools, colleges, training providers or employers, contact the Citizens Advice Bureau, or search their online help pages.

Check we can handle your complaint

You must check that we can help you, before you contact us. Our role is to make sure that your school, college or provider has handled your complaint properly - we can’t make them change their decision.

Check we can help with complaints here:

Making a complaint

If you’ve completed the complaints process with your school, college or provider involved and checked that we can genuinely help you, contact us with your complaint. Please attach:

  • details of the complaint, including key dates
  • a copy of the original complaint you sent, to the school or organisation involved
  • a copy of the final, response to your appeal, that you received from them
  • permission to disclose details of your complaint, to the organisation concerned

Please do not send us your original copies as we cannot return them.

For complaints about schools, academies, FE colleges, training provers and other organisations that deliver post-16 learning, contact us using the Customer Help Portal.

You can also write to us by post to:

Complaints Team
Education and Skills Funding Agency
Cheylesmore House
Quinton Road

Complain about us

If you’re not happy with any aspect of our service, you can make a formal complaint direct to us.

Contact us using the Customer Help Portal, or notify us by post to:

Complaints Team
Education and Skills Funding Agency
Cheylesmore House
Quinton Road

If you’re not happy with our final response, you have the right to complain to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, through your local MP.

Report fraud

To report suspected fraud, within an ESFA-funded education provider, check our published guidance explaining how to make an allegation of fraud or financial irregularity.

Our list of generic indicators can also help education providers identify potential fraud, within their organisations.


If you want to make a disclosure in the public interest, please check how we handle whistleblowing disclosures.

This covers arrangements to protect people, who make disclosures and keep their personal details confidential.

Other complaints

For information on complaints about other schools, special educational needs, disability discrimination, childminders you should refer to the Department for Education.