Raising Concerns at Your Child's School

A Guide for Parents and Guardians
ESF is committed to maintaining a positive partnership with parents. Sometimes things happen which make children or parents unhappy. It is important that parents and guardians feel able to raise concerns, do this in the best way and be reassured that their concern will be listened to.
In most cases, concerns and complaints can be resolved by talking to staff at the school. Sometimes parents may wish to raise a more formal complaint.
This page describes procedures used by many schools for dealing with general complaints. You may wish to ask your school for a full copy of the complaints procedures.
A complaint is a formal expression of dissatisfaction, however made, about the standard of services, facilities or activities, or actions or lack of action, by the School or its staff, affecting an individual or group.
The following are not complaints:
  • A general enquiry
  • A request for a service
  • A request for information or explanation of a policy or practice
  • Matters for which there is a right of appeal or a legal remedy
  • Matters appropriate to be dealt with under other procedures.
In some instances, e.g. where English may not be a parent’s mother tongue language, it may be appropriate for a parent to be accompanied by a friend to ensure full understanding of the concerns being raised.  
Typically there are four main stages involved: 
Stage 1
It is important that parents contact the school first with their concerns and talk to the teacher or Principal. Most problems can be sorted out in this way easily and informally.
Stage 2
If you are still unhappy the next stage is to raise a formal complaint by writing to the Principal. The Principal will investigate your complaint.
After they have looked into the issues, you may be asked to meet with the Principal or you may get a letter explaining the school’s response.   The school will aim to provide a response within ten working days.
Stage 3
If you are still unhappy after raising the complaint at Stage 2, you would need to inform the Chairman of the School Council in writing. After a period of review, the School Council Chairman will respond to your complaint. This may or may not involve a face to face meeting. The School Council Chairman will aim to provide a response within ten working days.
Stage 4 – Request for review of complaint by ESF
If you remain still unsatisfied you may wish to contact the ESF Centre. Full details should be sent to the Chief Executive Officer.
Timescales for handling your complaint
Ideally, complaints should be dealt with quickly, but if your complaint is complicated or requires detailed investigation, it may take a longer time to sort out. You should be kept informed how a complaint is being addressed and when you can expect to be contacted.
If a parent feels unable to direct a complaint to the Principal or has any other enquiry, please contact Head of Student Support, ESF Centre.