Education & skills complaints & compliments

Here you will find advice on how to make a complaint or compliment about a school in Northumberland.

If you would like to contact us about a complaint or compliment, you can do so via the following:


Telephone: 01670 622668
Freephone: 0800 373 6415

Text: 07766 631 901

Or by writing to:

Client relations
Children’s services
Freepost NEA15580
NE61 1BR

Please note, the local authority has very limited powers to investigate internal school matters. Therefore, it is vital parents and carers make their complaints known to the headteacher and chair of governors first, before resorting to the local authority process.
If your complaint is about an individual school, you should always ensure you complain to the headteacher. If you are then still unhappy, you should complain to the governing body.

It is the responsibility of individual schools to respond to complaints. You can get a copy of your school’s complaint procedure from their office, or you can download a general complaints procedure which tells you what will happen and who to contact. In some schools, a slightly different process may apply.

Please note that this information only applies to schools under county council control, not academies. If your complaint is about the local authority, please click here.

Informal stage
Many concerns can be resolved quickly, often by making contact with the class teacher or head of year. If this is not possible, or the teacher is unable to resolve the concern, the parent/carer or pupil should contact the headteacher or deputy headteacher. They should attempt to work with the family to resolve the complaint informally. Most complaints are dealt with in this way.

Formal stage
If pupils, parents or carers are not satisfied with the outcome of the informal investigation, they may wish to make a formal complaint. This should be done in writing to the headteacher.

If the complaint is about the headteacher, or if the problem is not resolved, the matter should be referred to the chair of the governors of the school. The school and its governors have a duty in law to act properly and investigate complaints impartially.

Once completed, the person making the complaint should receive a written response from the school. If pupils, parents or carers are dissatisfied with the response, they can refer the complaint to a review committee of governors, known as the complaints committee.

Only when this process has been exhausted should parents complain to the local authority, although they may choose to keep the authority copied into correspondence for information purposes.

Ofsted can investigate complaints about the work of the school as whole, but are not in a position to investigate any matter that relates only to your child.