Complaints Procedure

Complaints from parents about the actions of a member of staff other than the head teacher 

 Stage 1 - Informal Stage

It is preferable to resolve complaints at the informal stage wherever possible. Every effort should therefore be made to achieve a resolution at this level.

For complaints about the action of a member of staff other than the head teacher, the complainant should usually communicate directly with the member of staff concerned, by appointment in person, by telephone or in writing. In some cases, the complainant may prefer to communicate with another member of staff in the relevant line management chain e.g. head of department, Key Stage co-ordinator or deputy head. Similarly, the member of staff may feel it helpful in some circumstances to refer the complainant to a more senior colleague or to ask a more senior colleague to mediate. Schools may wish to designate a senior member of staff other than the head teacher to act in this capacity. 

Complaints at this stage should be resolved within fifteen school days from the date the complaint was first raised with the relevant member of staff. If it is not possible to resolve the complaint at the informal stage, the member of staff should provide the complainant with information about the procedure for complaints at Stage 2. 

Stage 2 - Formal Stage 

If the complainant is dissatisfied with the outcome at Stage 1, the complainant should put the complaint in writing to the head teacher. The Complaints Form at Annex B should be used for this purpose. The complainant should include all information which might assist the investigation, e.g. names of potential witnesses, dates and times of events, and copies of relevant documents as well as their requested resolution. The head teacher should acknowledge receipt of the complaint in writing. 

The head teacher should consider providing an opportunity to meet the complainant to discuss the complaint. The head teacher will investigate and collect necessary evidence; or appoint an investigating officer to do so on their behalf. The head teacher or appointed investigating officer should interview witnesses and take statements from those involved. Where it is necessary to interview a member of staff who is the subject of a complaint, the member of staff may choose to be accompanied by a friend or teachers’ association representative. The member of staff will be provided with a copy of the complaint and any additional relevant evidence presented by the complainant. Information about third parties should be redacted.

Once all relevant facts have been established, the head teacher should reach a decision about the complaint and communicate this in writing to the complainant and the respondent/s, i.e. the member of staff whose action is the subject of the complaint. 

The written response should include a full explanation of the decision and the reasons behind it. If the complaint is upheld in whole or in part, it should include what action the school will take to resolve the complaint. This might include:  

• an apology; • an explanation;  • an acknowledgment that the situation could have been handled differently or better;  • an assurance that the event complained about will not recur;  • an explanation of the steps taken to ensure that it will not happen again;  • an undertaking to review school policies in the light of the complaint.

If conduct or performance procedures are invoked as a result of the complaint, the details of the action taken will remain confidential. However, it is permissible for the complainant to be informed that appropriate action has been taken under disciplinary or restoring efficiency procedures. Schools will not pay financial compensation as a response to complaints.

If the head teacher does not uphold the complaint, the complainant should be advised that if s/he remains dissatisfied with the response and wishes to take the matter further, s/he may appeal to the School Governing Committee (SGC)

Stage 2 should be completed within fifteen school days from the date the complaint was received by the head teacher. If the complaint is complex and cannot be resolved within this period, the head teacher should write to the complainant giving a revised target date for completion. 

Stage 3 - Appeal Stage 

If the complainant is dissatisfied with the outcome at Stage 2, s/he has the right for the complaint to be considered by a sub-committee of the SGC. Full details of the complaint should be set out in writing and sent to the chair of the SGC. 

The sub-committee will comprise of two SGC members, joined for this purpose by a senior representative of DCYP MOD Schools chosen by the Senior Principal MOD Schools. The subcommittee will normally include the chair or vice-chair of the SGC, who will chair the meeting. 

No members of the sub-committee should have had any prior involvement in the case. Staff members at the school may not serve on the complaints sub-committee. 

For MOD schools in locations outside North West Europe or Cyprus, the DCYP MOD Schools representative may have difficulty joining the SGC members in person. In such cases, video conference facilities should be used. If this is not possible, the SGC members of the subcommittee should hear the complaint on their own and share the evidence with the DCYP MOD Schools representative before the three members of the sub-committee make their collective decision.

The complaints sub-committee should invite the person complained about, the complainant and the head teacher to a hearing. The procedure for the hearing is described at Annex C. 

If the complaint is not upheld, the chair of the sub-committee should write to the complainant notifying him/her of the decision, and confirming that there is no further right of appeal. 

If the complaint is upheld in whole or in part, the sub-committee will make written recommendations to the Senior Principal MOD Schools. In the light of such recommendation(s), the Senior Principal MOD Schools may direct the head teacher to reconsider his/her previous decision and action regarding the complaint. The Senior Principal MOD Schools will notify the complainant of the outcome. 

Stage 3 should normally be completed within twenty school days of the complaint being received by the SGC

Further information in relation to the complaints procedure including how the school deals with complaints about the head teacher and complaints from pupils can be found in the attached MOD Policy statement attached to this webpage. This attachment also includes all annex documentation required for the procedure outlined above.


  1. Complaints procedure MOD Schools