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Making a complaint about your child’s education

If you have a concern or complaint about your child’s education, it’s important to know who to speak to about it.

Who you complain to and how complaints are handled can depend on what you’re complaining about. For example, complaints about additional support needs (ASN) are handled differently from complaints about how the school is run.

Complaining about your child’s school

Before making a complaint, read up on policies and guidance that could help you. 

  • Think about what you want to make a complaint about, as a complaint is not always the best route. If you want to complain about something to do with your child's additional support needs (ASN) or how their additional support for learning (ASL) is being provided, you should use the independent adjudication or mediation processes in the next section ‘Additional Support Needs (ASN)’. 
  • Most schools won’t have their own separate complaints policy. They will follow the local authority's complaints process. Ask to see this policy so you know what to expect and how your complaint should be handled. 
  • Ask if the local authority has specific policies relating to the issue you’re complaining about, such as an equal opportunities policy.  
  • Ask if the school has specific policies relating to the issue you’re complaining about, such as an anti-bullying policy. 

To make a complaint about your child’s school, follow these steps.  

  1. If possible, raise your concern or complaint informally with the people involved. 
    For example, if you’re worried about your child’s progress, ask to talk to their class teacher. 
  2. If the person you’ve spoken to can’t help, or you aren’t satisfied with their response, there may be someone else you can speak to, such as the headteacher or an education officer. 
  3. If your concern has not been resolved by the school, you can make a formal complaint to the local authority. Before making a formal complaint, read up on policies and guidance that could help you. 
  4. All local authorities must have a policy about how complaints about schools in its education authority should be handled. This should be available on their website. The policy should explain how to make a complaint, and how your complaint should be handled, including timescales for responding to you. 
  5. If you’ve taken the local authority complaints policy as far as possible, you can take the issue further by contacting the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO). 

Education Scotland, the inspection agency, doesn’t hear complaints about schools; it will normally refer any complaints it receives to the school itself. 

Additional support needs (ASN)

This is a different process to complaining about coordinated support plans (CSPs). 

If your child has ASN and your complaint is about the support that your child is receiving, then you should first raise any concerns you have with the school and contact your child’s ToD. They have an important role to play in advising the school on how to support deaf children and may be able to intervene directly. If you aren’t happy with the school’s response to your complaint, you can then raise it with the local authority and go through the independent adjudication and mediation process. 


Every local authority must make independent mediation available to help with the resolution of disputes in relation to a child or young person’s ASN. Mediation can be useful in helping to resolve disputes and to restore or maintain a good working relationship with the school. If you think mediation would be appropriate in your case, then you can contact the LA to ask for a referral for mediation. 

Dispute resolution

For particular types of dispute, including where a local authority has failed to provide additional support required by a child or young person, the matter can be referred to a process of independent adjudication. Enquire has a factsheet about independent adjudication which has more information. 

You can also get advice about additional support for learning (ASL) in Scotland from Enquire Helpline 

Co-ordinated support plan (CSP)

If your complaint is about the content of a CSP, or if the local authority has refused to open a CSP, or failed to provide support specified in the plan, you can take your complaint to the Additional Support Needs Tribunals for Scotland. 

You don’t need to make a formal complaint before you appeal to the Tribunal, but strict time limits apply. An appeal usually has to be made within two months of the date of the decision which you are disputing.

You can find more information about how to appeal to the Tribunal in our factsheet Making a Reference to the Additional Support Needs Tribunal.