The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: We cannot investigate Mrs X’s complaint about events inside a school. The law does not allow us to do so.
- The complainant, whom I shall call Mrs X, complains about how a school has dealt with a pupil, Z, and how the Council has replied to this complaint.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- We cannot investigate complaints about what happens in schools. (Local Government Act 1974, Schedule 5, paragraph 5(b), as amended)
- The Courts have said that we cannot investigate a complaint about any action by a council, concerning a matter which is itself out of our jurisdiction. (R (on the application of M) v Commissioner for Local Administration  EHWCC 2847 (Admin))
- The law says we cannot normally investigate a complaint unless we are satisfied the Council knows about the complaint and has had an opportunity to investigate and reply. However, we may decide to investigate if we consider it would be unreasonable to notify the Council of the complaint and give it an opportunity to investigate and reply. (Local Government Act 1974, section 26(5))
How I considered this complaint
- I considered information provided by Mrs X and the Council.
- I considered the Ombudsman’s Assessment Code.
- Mrs X had an opportunity to comment on a draft version of this decision.
- Mrs X complained to School Y about how it was handling a child she cares for, Z. This included:
- bullying incidents,
- injuries suffered at school,
- the school’s management of Z’s allergies,
- how School Y kept Z informed during lockdowns,
- that Mrs X believes School Y discriminated against Z,
- School Y removing Z from a milk list, and,
- School Y wanting Z to read the same book repeatedly.
- We cannot investigate this complaint. This is because we cannot investigate the internal management of a school.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman