Parents & Pupils

Concerns about a School

For Parents

If you wish to raise a concern about a school, you can email or call 020 7600 0100 and ask to talk to an appropriate member of staff. If the conversation cannot take place immediately, we will arrange a time for someone to contact you. All such communications are confidential and never divulged to the school. All concerns are taken seriously. At the very least a note will be taken and drawn to the attention of the Reporting Inspector leading the next inspection of the school.  Please see our privacy notice in relation to how your personal data will be processed.

Parents are encouraged to raise their concerns directly with the school, if necessary using

  • the school’s formal complaints procedure, or
  • the school’s anti-bullying policy
  • the school’s safeguarding policy (for concerns about the safety of children). The safeguarding policy must be on the school website and will set out processes for responding to safeguarding concerns of all varieties and will give key contact details including for the relevant local authority.

If you wish you may copy ISI in on any correspondence. If you remain dissatisfied at the end of the school complaints process, or concerned whether the safeguarding response is sufficiently rigourous and effective you may inform ISI,

If it appears at any stage of your contact with us that a school may be in breach of any regulatory requirements or there is a serious or safeguarding concern, ISI will refer the matter to the Department for Education (DfE).

The DfE will decide and notify ISI of any action required to check a school’s compliance with the regulations – action which may involve, for example, checking policy implementation, bringing forward an inspection or undertaking a no-notice inspection.

Parents should know that ISI is unable to become directly involved in investigating or resolving individual complaints or disputes, or in any contractual matters.

For Pupils

If you have a concern about your school at the time of its inspection, please make sure that you complete the confidential pre-inspection questionnaire – for more information see Support for Pupils.

If you have a concern about your school at any other time  we encourage to raise it with your parents or your school. All schools should have arrangements to listen to the concerns of pupils. You should be told about these at school, but they should also be set out in your school’s policies which will be on the school website:

  • anti-bullying policy
  • safeguarding policy.

The school complaints policy is usually mainly for the use of parents. But boarding schools are specifically required to have arrangements to enable boarders to contribute views about the operation of boarding provision and ensure boarders are able to raise their concerns and make complaints.

If you are worried and do not feel able to discuss it  with your parents, or an adult whom you trust at the school, or if you want ISI to know about your concern, you can email, telephone 020 7600 0100 or send a text message to 07936 900090. If you are not able to talk about your concern immediately, we will arrange for someone to l call you back as soon as possible. All such communications are confidential and are never shared with the school.  Please see our privacy notice in relation to how your personal data will be processed.

Further reading:

Follow the links for more information about


More government advice and guidance is available on the DfE website.

Remember that if you are reporting a serious concern to ISI, you should also consider reporting it to the relevant authority, for example the police.