Details on complaints procedures needed in maintained schools and nursery schools.
Since 1 September 2003 governing bodies of all maintained schools and maintained nursery schools in England have been required, under Section 29 of the Education Act 2002, to have in place a procedure to deal with all complaints relating to their school and to any community facilities or services that the school provides. This does not limit complainants to parents or carers of pupils registered at a school. A complainant could be a member of the wider community or representing an ex-pupil.
The law also requires the procedure to be publicised. How schools choose to do this is a matter for local determination however the Department for Education (DfE) recommends publishing it online.
The majority of schools already have a complaints procedure in place, generally based on local authority (LA) or Diocesan Board models.
Academies, free schools and independent schools should make sure they meet the requirements as laid out in the Education (Independent Schools Standards) Regulations 2010.
Waltham Forest Council has produced its own guidance for residents, which states that complaints about schools should be made to schools in the first instance. The governors appeal is the final stage in the complaints process. The local authority will not reinvestigate complaints that are referred to them, but will ensure that due process has been followed.
The Education Funding Agency (EFA) handles complaints about open academies and free schools. Part of its role is to make sure academies comply with the terms of their funding agreement which is a contract between the academy and the Secretary of State. In a similar way to maintained schools and complaining to the local authority, before submitting a complaint to the EFA residents' first step should be to make a complaint directly to the academy following its complaints procedure. The EFA has published guidance as to how to complain to the EFA about an academy.