Making a complaint to school

5min read

Key Points:

  • Try to stay calm and focused
  • Keep in mind your goal – for the bullying to stop
  • Know how to escalate things if you feel the bullying isn’t being resolved

Tackling the bullying

Schools have a legal duty to keep your child safe and to prevent all forms of bullying. If your child has been bullied at school, it can feel very distressing and overwhelming to know the best way to deal with things. It can often feel hard to stay calm and focused when speaking to a teacher about the bullying, so it can help to keep notes of incidents with dates and times, and to put your thoughts down in writing. Try to keep in mind that your goal is for the bullying to stop.

Ensure that you speak to your child about the bullying and let them know that you are supporting them. It is important that all action taken is done at their pace so they do not feel overwhelmed or frightened. Take time to talk to them about each step so they fully understand and accept the process of making a complaint. Reassure them that they do not have to face this alone or accept this bullying behaviour. 

It can help to obtain a copy of the school's anti-bullying policy so you know what step you should take. You can also request copies of their complaints and behaviour policies. These may be available on the school website, or you can request a copy from the school office. Speak to the safeguarding lead at your school to ask what steps they are taking to keep your child safe at school and ensure that this communication is in writing. 

If you are unhappy with the way the school has handled the bullying or the bullying isn’t being resolved, you can write to the school to complain so that they can understand your concerns.

The first step you can try is writing to your child’s form teacher or head of year. You can find below some templates for the different types of letters/emails you may want to use to write to the different levels of authority at school. 

Template letters

Letter to the form teacher or head of year

Dear ,

I am writing to inform you that the bullying has escalated towards my child and would like to know what the next steps are for the bullying to be resolved.

It would be really helpful to arrange a meeting with you to discuss this situation and how we can get the bullying to stop at your earliest convenience.  

Yours sincerely,

Letter to the head teacher

Dear ,

I have been dealing with  over the bullying of my child by Despite discussing this with the class teacher/head of year, the bullying is still going on.

Can you please let me know what your next steps will be and how this will be monitored? Can you also confirm whether you will be involving the family of the child who is bullying my child. Would it be possible for you to increase supervision at the time most of the bullying happens

I would be grateful for a copy of your anti-bullying policy. Please put a copy of my complaint onto 's file together with your written response.

Yours sincerely,

Letter to the chair of governors

(You can get their name from the school office and send the letter to the school address).

Dear ,

I enclose a copy of a letter I sent to the head teacher of <> school on (date). Unfortunately, despite writing to the class teacher/head of year and the head teacher, my child is still being bullied by .

As you will see, I have asked the head what they can introduce to stop the bullying (I am not satisfied with their reply/ the bullying has continued). Please investigate my complaint and tell me what steps the governors intend to take to halt the bullying of my child.

As this matter is unresolved I'd like a copy of the school's record to see what action has been taken on my earlier complaints. I understand that I will be asked to pay for photocopying.

I look forward to receiving your response. 

Yours sincerely,

Further resources

It may help to chat to other parents on our forums to find out how they are dealing with this issue within their family life. You can also talk to us online via our live chat service, email us at or call us on our helpline on 0808 800 2222 to speak to trained family support worker. 

Other organisations that can help

Take a look at the guidance for schools on bullying by the Government. 

Read the Government guidance on preventing and tackling bullying within schools 

You may be able to make a complaint to Ofsted, if you are unhappy with the way they bullying has been dealt with under Section 11 of the Education Act 2005 if this is a qualifying complaint. This means that it must meet a set of criteria and raise an issue that impacts the whole school .You must also have followed the school complaints process before making a complaint to Ofsted.