Home Help for families Information & advice Education & learning Bullying What to do if the bullying carries on
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Many of the parents we speak to about bullying had positive responses from the school and found that the bullying stopped. However, sometimes parents might need to take things further to find a positive resolution for their child.
If, after meeting with the school, you are not happy with their response to the bullying, you can make a formal complaint. All schools must have a complaints policy. This should be available on the school website, or you can ask the school for a copy.
Make your complaint in writing and say clearly that you are making a formal complaint. Keep a copy of the letter for your records.
We have made a letter template for you to use when writing to complain.
There is usually a timescale by which you should receive a response to the complaint.
The school governors or academy trust will often appoint a sub-committee to meet and hear your complaint and decide what action to take. Usually you can attend the sub-committee and take someone with you for support. The head teacher or another teacher from the school will usually also attend.
In some complaints policies, school governors or the academy trust will only accept ‘paper submissions’, meaning written complaints rather than meeting with you and hearing your complaint.
If you not happy with the outcome, or the timescales are not met, different options apply depending on where you live in the UK.
Some local authorities may have a role in reviewing complaints in their schools. Check the school complaints policy to see if this is the case.
The Department for Education can review complaints when you have been through the school’s formal complaints process.
You may be able to raise your concerns with the local authority (LA). The LA will not interfere with a governing body’s decision unless the school did not act properly to investigate the complaint.
You may be able to complain to the Education and Library Board or Council for Catholic Maintained Schools in certain circumstances. You can get legal advice from the Children’s Law Centre NI.
You can complain to the Education Authority. Free advice to help you do this is available from the Scottish Child Law Centre.
You may decide to seek legal advice if things are still not resolved. Legal action should be seen as the last resort. If you are thinking of taking legal action, seek specialist advice first. Legal action can be a costly and lengthy process and getting legal funding is very difficult.
If you are considering any of these steps, call our freephone helpline and speak to one of our education specialists for advice.