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What can I do if my child isn't supported at school?

While some schools are very supportive of children and young people with M.E., we know that others get it wrong. Sometimes this can be resolved by asking for a meeting with the school. In other cases, parents feel that they want to make a complaint. This page offers advice on how to do this. If you feel like you need further information and support, please get in touch.

Government advice sets out three steps for complaining about a school’s provision of support for special educational needs SEN). These are:

  • Talk to the school’s special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO). If you or the school believe that your child is failing to make sufficient progress with the level of support that the school can provide, you can ask your local authority to carry out a statutory assessment of your child's SEN.
  • Then follow the school’s complaints procedure.
  • Then complain to your local authority. If your child attends an academy or free school, or the complaint is not about a SEN statement or an EHC plan, you should complain to the Education Funding Agency instead.

Your local authority may have more than one stage in its complaints procedure. If you are unhappy with the final outcome, or the local authority is taking too long to look into the matter, you can complain to an ombudsman via the Local Government Ombudsman website. 

The Local Government Ombudsman provides a free, independent and impartial service. It considers complaints about the administrative actions of councils and some other authorities. It cannot question what a council has done simply because someone does not agree with it. If it finds something has gone wrong, such as poor service, service failure, delay or bad advice and that a person has suffered as a result the ombudsmen aims to get it put right by recommending a suitable remedy.

The ombudsman can investigate a complaint that a council has failed to deal properly with assessing SEN and issuing a statement of SEN; or failing to implement a statement or carry out an annual review.

The ombudsman is concerned with processes, not with the merits of council decisions taken properly. Also, the law generally prevents investigating complaints for which a remedy is available through an appeal to a statutory tribunal. This means that the ombudsman cannot investigate a complaint when the issues it raises can be dealt with through an appeal to the First Tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability)