Should the Parent Council or the school deal with a complaint?

Q:

A parent is coming to our next Parent Council meeting to tell us about a complaint she has with the school. She is not happy with the way the matter is being handled and wants the Parent Council to get involved. We think she should go to the local education authority as the next step after raising her concern with the headteacher.

A:

You are quite right. Neither the Parent Council nor the PTA should deal with complaints from individual parents. You can consider the complaints procedure in the school, but should not get involved in individual cases. You are also right in assuming that the parent should proceed first to the headteacher and then to the local authority. The most the Parent Council/PTA can do is advise the parent on the proper procedure. Of course, complaints are a good opportunity to discuss subjects more widely.  For example, if a parent is unhappy about an incident of bullying at the school, it is not your role to take action on behalf of this parent. However, what the Parent Council can do is discuss the school's bullying policy or consult on this with the Parent Forum.