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Policies & procedures

Reviewing your complaints procedure

Use our checklist to make sure the procedure for your school or trust meets requirements and supports effective complaints resolution.


All schools and trusts must have a complaints procedure (sometimes known as a complaints policy). Once a complaint has been made, the school must follow the established procedure which should be published on the school/trust website (a requirement for maintained schools).

The governing board should have oversight of the procedure – the DfE recommends it is reviewed by boards at least every 2 to 3 years. Approval is often delegated to a committee.

Our checklist has been developed to help boards review the complaints procedure and ensure it is working as intended. Having an effective procedure in place will increase the likelihood of achieving a satisfactory outcome for all parties while minimising the time spent on dealing with complaints.

The checklist is available for both maintained schools and academy trusts and covers:

  • statutory guidance that must be complied with and helpful best practice guidance
  • essential elements of all complaints procedures
  • recommended elements to include
  • questions that governing boards can ask to ensure the procedure is working well
  • recommendations on who should hear complaints at each stage of the procedure

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