Effective complaining

Photo: iStock.com/kokouu

It is a rare parent who never needs to complain. So how can you complain in a way which is constructive for everyone – parents, pupils and teachers? Attain's Editor talked to Jeremy Banks of Caldicott and Claire Belk of Bellan House, Oswestry School.

However much you like a school, at some point all parents will need to complain about something. But how can you complain effectively and in a way which is constructive for everyone – parents, pupils and teachers?

Heads are often on the receiving end of parental complaints which would be better directed to another member of staff. A disgruntled parent, annoyed about a particular situation, can be tempted to fire off a hastily written rant email hoping the Head's intervention will instantly solve the problem.

In the cold light of day, when the parent arrives at the school gate, the heat of the situation is often removed and a solution is easily found. Indeed, usually the best way a Head can respond to a late night parental email is to suggest a meeting; when that takes place, cooler heads will usually prevail and the situation may well have solved itself.

At the heart of constructive complaining however is knowing how to communicate effectively and all good schools will ensure that parents have plenty of options through which to channel any concerns.

"Key to it is making sure that the parents know the pathways for bringing forward a concern or an issue. And going directly to the Head isn't the answer," says Claire Belk, Headmistress of Bellan House, Oswestry School.

Jeremy Banks and Claire Belk discuss how to complain in the most constructive way for everyone

Matthew Smith is the Editor of Attain.