How to pen a letter of complaint to your child’s school

Here's our tips on how to get your point across in a less shouty manner...

Susan recieved letters from her loved ones 45 years after they were sent

by Cate Sutherland |
Published on

Walk past any school at pick up time and you’re bound to find a gaggle of angry parents ranting about the school’s complete and utter hopelessness at managing their child’s education.

Add debates over whether biscuits should be allowed on the menu and you can see why teachers get a little hot under the collar when you email them a litany of their mistakes.

But every school has its problems and you’ve got a right a to complain in person or by letter if you feel the issue warrants a more formal approach.

How you go about presenting your concerns is key to getting the best result for your child – they have to sit in front of Ms. Harassed Teacher, not you.

Here are some tips on how to get your point across without creating a storm.

Bullying school
Bullying school ©Darren Cool

Plan your argument

Before you put pen to paper, think about why you’re writing to the school head or a specific teacher. What are your concerns? Are they unique to your child or do you want to point out some broader issues? Most importantly, do you have a solution in mind or what do you expect them to do about resolving it?

Keep it business-like

Leave out lengthy descriptions of why the school is rubbish or the ‘devil child’ bullying your angelic one must be expelled. Concentrate on the facts, save your emotions for the coffee catch-ups.

Always be polite and make sure the school knows how best to get in contact with you for a follow-up.

Ask a friend to read your letter

Your back-up plan to failing on the previous point – how would you feel if you received the letter? Don’t point fingers and pass the buck. Be clear about what you want and the rationale behind your requests.


Talk to other parents

If you’re unhappy with the curriculum or issues that affect the entire school such as security measures, talk to other parents so you can present a united front. The more voices behind your request, the more likely the school will act.

Understand Ofsted rules

If your concern relates to matters of governance it doesn’t hurt to use the regulator’s language or refer to specific mandates around spending, inspections or health & safety.

Do your research and be clear about why you think the school is failing to deliver the basics.

Join the school board

Becoming a school governor will require monthly meetings as a minimum, but if you want a REAL say in how your school is run, this is the most effective position you can take.

The Board of Governors sets the plans and policies of the school, employs the school staff and manages the expenditure of the school budget.

School building

If you’re really struggling with the professional letter – first write up your rant. It’s quite a relief to write down negative emotions. So unburden yourself, then have another crack at a more productive version. It should focus your rage on what’s really important.

Read more about schools:

Parents to face a £60 fine if children are late for school

Teacher suspended after claims she taped primary school children's mouths shut

School under fire after 'punishing' blind child by taking away his cane

Head teacher under fire from parents after taking a month off to get married

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