There is a difference between ‘legal requirement’ and ‘good practice’. In this guidance, we use:
- must – where a school has a legal duty to do (or not do) something
- can – where a school has a legal power (not a duty) to do something
- should – for guidance on best practice
Under section 29(2) of the Education Act 2002, governing bodies of maintained schools must ‘have regard to any guidance given from time to time (in relation to England) by the Secretary of State’ when establishing and publishing complaints procedures relating to their school and any facilities or services the school provides.
The phrase ‘must have regard’, when used in this context, does not mean that DfE’s guidance has to be followed in every detail. While DfE’s expectations are that schools will adopt our best practice recommendations, schools can apply alternative processes if they have good reason to.