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How to raise concerns with your child’s school

Sandwell schools want their pupils to be healthy, happy, safe, and to do well. But sometimes things may seem to go wrong, which may lead you to voice your concerns.

The school will want to know about any issues you have, so you may find it helpful to read the questions and answers below, before you get in touch with them.

Step 1:

I have something I would like to discuss with the school, what should I do?

First of all, make sure that what you want to discuss is clear in your mind. A good tip is to write down the main points so that you don’t forget anything.

What should I do next?

Think about asking to see the teacher or head of year to discuss the issue. They will usually be willing to meet with you as quickly as possible, which will give you both the time to talk about things without being interrupted.

Think about what you hope will happen as a result of your discussion and let the teacher or head of year know this.

Step 2:

What should I do if I still feel unhappy about the issue?

If you are unhappy with the outcome of the meeting, you can ask to speak to the headteacher.

It is in everyone’s interests, especially those of your child, for concerns to be sorted out smoothly and end on a positive note.

  • Most problems will have been sorted out by now, but if not, a concern can turn into a formal complaint.

  • If you wish to make a formal complaint you must ask the school for a copy of their complaints procedure and write a letter of complaint to the headteacher.

Step 3:

I have written to the headteacher but I am unhappy with the headteacher’s decision, what can I do?

If you are unhappy with the headteacher’s decision, or have a concern specifically about the headteacher, you should write to the Chair of Governors at the school address setting out your concern. Please mark the envelope “Private and Confidential”.

The school procedures may advise you that the Governors’ Complaints Panel will meet to hear your complaint. But the Governors cannot get involved unless you have first tried to resolve your concerns through steps 1 and 2 above.

I now feel the governing body of the school is being unfair, can I take this further?

If you have followed the school’s complaints process, suggested in steps 1-3 above, and remain unhappy with the outcome, you are entitled to refer your complaint to other organisations - see details below:

Schools in Sandwell – community or maintained by the local authority

Faith schools in Sandwell

The local authority or the faith school boards can consider if the school’s actions were unreasonable, and advise the school what should be done to resolve the situation. However, these organisations cannot overturn the decision, as the complaint is the responsibility of the school or academy.

Academy schools and faith academies in Sandwell – independent from the local authority

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is an executive agency sponsored by the Department for Education. The ESFA cannot change an academy’s decision about a complaint, but can make sure the academy has handled your complaint properly and followed the correct process.

How ESFA handles complaints about academies: this guide provides advice for people who wish to raise concerns about an academy’s handling of complaints. It sets out the responsibilities of academies and the role of ESFA in handling complaints.

Important: the above organisations cannot get involved with concerns in schools unless you have followed the school’s complaints procedure. Every school in Sandwell will have one, and this should be published on the school’s website.

For information: if a problem relates to admissions, home to school transport, the curriculum or special educational needs, these are covered by legal regulations and the headteacher can give you more information.