Increasing and increasingly vexatious parent complaints

A rise in vexatious parental complaints is fuelling workload in schools and harming wellbeing among school leaders and their staff. Paul Whiteman asks why this is and, crucially, what can be done about it?
Image: Adobe Stock

There is no single issue to blame for the severe recruitment and retention crisis affecting both school leadership and teaching.

A decade of heavy real-terms pay cuts of around 20% (against inflation) is perhaps the clearest contributing factor.

But heavy workload and the toll the job can take on wellbeing have also dented the attractiveness of what should be a rewarding career path. Again, there are many factors driving both, ranging from funding pressures to the damaging impact of Ofsted inspection.

The impact of complaints by parents has been spoken about somewhat less. But we are increasingly hearing from our members how they have not only seen a sharp increase in complaints, but also a big upturn in those they consider to be clearly vexatious or baseless. These complaints often have a harmful effect on wellbeing and directly drive stress and workload among school leaders and their staff.

Register now, read forever

Thank you for visiting Headteacher Update and reading some of our content for professionals in primary education. Register now for free to get unlimited access to all content.

What's included:

  • Unlimited access to news, best practice articles and podcasts

  • New content and e-bulletins delivered straight to your inbox every Monday


Already have an account? Sign in here