The responsibility for dealing with school complaints lies with the Governing Board of each school. All schools are required, by Section 29 of the 2002 Education Act, to establish a complaints procedure and to publicise that procedure. This means that the procedure should be easily accessible at the school.
A revised model was published in April 2015, following wide ranging consultation, and has been recommended for adoption to all schools in the Borough. Any queries on the part of Headteachers and Governing Boards relating to school complaints should be directed to the Governance and Liaison Service.
Complainants also have the right to appeal to the Secretary of State if they are not satisfied with the way the school has dealt with their complaint, once the school's complaints process has been exhausted. However the Secretary of State is only able to intervene in particular circumstances - specifically where there has been a breach of a statutory duty or where the Governing Board has acted unreasonably with regard to the exercise of its power. He/she must be satisfied that a decision is unreasonable in the sense that no reasonable Governing Board acting with due regard to its statutory responsibilities would have reached that decision.
In conjunction with the school's own complaints procedure, complainants have the right to raise concerns with Ofsted where they relate to the actions of a member of the teaching staff.
Complaints about Academies
Academies are required to have a published procedure for dealing with complaints by parents or pupils, which must be made available on request. This procedure must provide for complaints to be managed within clear timescales. The Cheshire East model complaints procedure for schools may also be adopted by academies.
Parents that are not satisfied a complaint has been dealt with appropriately by an Academy should contact the Education Funding Agency (EFA). The EFA will investigate complaints about:
- undue delay or non-compliance with published complaints procedures; and
- allegations that the Academy has acted unlawfully or failed to comply with a contractual duty imposed on it under its Funding Agreement with the Secretary of State or any other legal obligation.