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Complaints about special educational needs and disabilities services

Before making a complaint, talk to your provider. If you have already done so, and the problem is unresolved, find out how to complain. If your complaint is around Education Health and Care (EHC) assessments and plans, see what support is available and how to complain.

Talk to your provider

To resolve a problem you should start by talking to your provider. Talk to them if:

  • you have had a bad experience 
  • there have been ongoing problems 
  • the service was not what you'd hoped it to be

You should raise your concern early on and speak with the person in charge. This could be the manager, head teacher or key worker of the service or school. You can then discuss how to resolve, or improve the problem.

My problem is still unresolved 

If you still have a problem, you can get support from:

Support around EHC plans and assessments

There is a range of support available:

You should first talk to your SEN Planning Coordinator to resolve any issues. If they are unresolved, make a complaint.

For general and legal advice, talk to:

See also disagreement resolution and mediation help.

I have been unable to fix the problem and want to complain

If you have tried talking to the service and you have not found a solution, you can make a complaint. This will allow you to start the process of resolving the problem in a more official way.

There are different procedures for different services so please select the relevant type:

Non-council service complaints

If the service is not run by the council, they will have their own complaints procedure. You will need to contact them to make a complaint.

School complaints

All schools handle complaints themselves. To make a complaint about a school, follow your schools complaint procedure.

Other education complaints

All non-school education provider should have their own complaints process. This could be a college or early years provider. If you still cannot resolve the problem, you can complain to the organisation that inspects them such as Ofsted.

Council run services

If the complaint is about a service run by Dorset County Council, follow our complaints procedure.

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