All schools in England must have and publish a complaints policy. The Department expects them to be given the first opportunity to respond to complaints, including those involving racism. If complainants are still unhappy once the local procedure is complete, they may either choose to complain direct to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, or they can ask the Secretary of State to consider the school’s handling of the complaint, under his powers of intervention. These are set out under Sections 496/497 of the Education Act 1996, if the school is maintained by the local authority or, under the terms of its Funding Agreement, if the school is an Academy or Free School.
The Department considers complaints about schools on an individual basis, depending on the nature of the complaint.