Complaints procedure

How to make a complaint to Ofsted about services we inspect and/or regulate, or about Ofsted’s representatives or service.

Complain about a provider Ofsted inspects or regulates

The first step is always to raise any issues with the school, service or provider by completing their full complaints procedure. Most issues can be resolved in this way.

We may not be able to accept your complaint if you have not done this already.

If you think a child is at risk, contact the children’s social care team at their local council or call your local police on 101. If a child is in immediate danger, call 999.

Complain about a school

Find out how to complain about a school. If you complain about a school to Ofsted, this does not mean we will carry out an inspection because of your complaint. Our inspectors may discuss issues raised in your complaint with the school when they carry out their usual inspection.

Complain about Ofsted

There are 2 processes to submit a complaint about an inspection, regulatory event or incident based on the date of the event:

  • if the event happened before or on 4 April 2024
  • if the event happened after 4 April 2024

Read our policy to submit a complaint

Complain about childcare

Ofsted’s powers here are limited: we cannot resolve disputes between you and the provider. Our role is to make sure that the childcare provider or agency is following all registration requirements and to take action if necessary.

Ofsted does not regulate childminders that are registered with a childminding agency. Complaints about a childminder registered with an agency should be made to the agency. If you are not happy with the agency’s response, you can then complain to Ofsted about the agency.

To complain about a childcare provider or childminder agency, get in touch with us at or 0300 123 4666.

If you complain, we will review the information you provide and decide what to do. We may carry out an immediate inspection, ask the provider to take action or work with other agencies to look at any issues.

However, we will not contact you to let you know the outcome.

You can find out more about our powers in ‘Information for parents about Ofsted’s role in regulating childcare’.

Complain about further education or apprenticeships

You need to follow the organisation’s complaints procedure. If you’re still not happy, complain to the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).

Complain about children’s social care

It’s usually best to talk to the social care establishment or agency first.

Find out more about how to raise concerns about children’s social care with Ofsted.

Complain about local council (local authority) children’s services

You need to complain directly to the local council (local authority). If you have followed their complaints procedure and are still unhappy, contact the Local Government Ombudsman.

Complain about children and family court services

You need to complain directly to Cafcass (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service).