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How to make a complaint about a school

All London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and Kingston upon Thames schools aim to provide as many opportunities as possible to keep you well informed and involved in your child’s progress and wellbeing.

However, from time to time, you may have a concern about an area of your child’s schooling. If you do, you should contact the school or academy and request a copy of the procedure which explains how to complain.

This page supports your school’s guidelines and explains the stages that you can go through to resolve any concerns.

Make an appointment to discuss your concern directly with the member of staff involved. At secondary level, the school or academy can tell you who is the most appropriate person. Most difficulties can be sorted out at this stage.

If your concern is very serious then it may be more appropriate to speak directly with the headteacher. 

Write to the headteacher, who will become responsible for the investigation of your complaint. Include details, such as names, dates, times and include copies of any relevant documents.

It may be necessary to meet with the headteacher to clarify some areas.

The headteacher will collect the evidence they need and get back to you once the facts have been established. 

Arrange to speak directly with the headteacher. This is an important step as many concerns can still be resolved by clarifying the information. If your complaint is very serious then, it may be more appropriate to speak directly with the chair of governors.

If the complaint is still unresolved then you need to put it in writing and address it to the chair of governors. Include names, dates and times. The school will tell you how to make contact with this person.

The school will tell you when their investigation is complete. 

You can ask the governing body to review the handling of the complaint. You need to do this in writing and within two weeks of receiving the letter telling you about the result of your complaint.

A governing body complaints panel will meet and make a decision based on the evidence submitted from everyone concerned.

Once the investigation is completed, you will receive a letter telling you the result of the review. 

Complaints received by the local authority will be referred to the school or academy. Support and advice will be offered to the school, where necessary, by the relevant local authority officer.  

If you feel that the governing body or the local authority has acted unreasonably about your concerns, you can write to the Secretary of State for Education, or contact Ofsted or the Local Government Ombudsman (contact details are at the foot of this page).

You will need to list the steps you have already taken and the responses you have received.

However, if the governors have followed proper procedure and considered the complaint reasonably the Secretary of State cannot overturn the decision. 

Department for Education

The Secretary of State 
Department for Education
Sanctuary Buildings
Great Smith Street


You should contact the helpdesk, which is open from 8.00am to 8.00pm, Monday to Friday.

Phone 0300 123 1231, or email [email protected] Or you can fill in an online complaints form at

The Local Government Ombudsman

The Local Government Ombudsman
PO Box 4771
​CV4 0EH

For advice on making a complaint, or to make a complaint over the phone, please call the Advice Team on 0300 061 0614, available Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 5.00pm. You can also text ‘call back’ to 0762 481 1595.