Complaints Policy

The NABSS executive committee will only consider and respond to the following types of complaints:
• Complaints about NABSS itself.
• Complaints about individual member schools, received from other member schools, referring to breaches of the NABSS code of ethics.

Complaints should be sent in writing to
The person submitting the complaint should provide their full name and indicate their relationship with the school or schools that they are referring to. They should specify which item they consider to have been breached, and should provide suitable evidence.

NABSS will acknowledge receipt of complaints within five working days. Final conclusions may depend on the issue being presented at executive committee meetings and possibly on follow-up investigations. Therefore, definitive responses may take up to four months from the date of receipt of the complaint. In the case of breaches of the NABSS code of ethics, the executive committee will decide whether the member school in question should receive a warning or sanction in accordance with NABSS regulations. However, NABSS will not intervene directly in making changes or undoing actions within a member school to solve a particular problem. It is up to the school to take action to avoid further sanctions on the part of the association.

General guidelines for complaints about NABSS member schools.

The procedure for making complaints about British schools in Spain is as follows:

In the first instance, follow the school’s own complaints procedure. All schools are required to have a written complaints procedure and this should provide the means by which the majority of complaints can be effectively dealt with. If the school does not have a complaints procedure, this should be reported to the inspection service, via the British Council (see below).

If after following the school’s complaint procedure the complainant considers it necessary to appeal to a higher authority, there are two options depending on the nature of the complaint.
1) Spanish law. All British schools in Spain are subject to Spanish law and therefore if a school is acting in breach of the law, complainants may refer the matter to the appropriate authorities, or take legal action. This includes matters relating to child abuse.
2) The inspection process. British schools in Spain are inspected by British inspection providers. The only part of the curriculum that is under local Spanish inspection is that of Spanish language and culture. If a complainant considers that an issue could put into question a school’s authorisation, or should be taken into account in subsequent inspections, they should contact the British Council in Spain, who coordinate the inspection and certification process for British schools in Spain. The British Council may choose to refer the matter to the inspection provider that last inspected the school.
Please note, NABSS provides an inspection service for British schools in Spain. However, schools (including NABSS members) may also choose to use other providers. Inspection judgements and recommendations are reported to the British Council’s inspection monitoring committee, not to the NABSS executive committee. Therefore, complaints about schools that have been inspected by the NABSS inspection service should be submitted directly to the British Council who will then involve the inspection service if necessary.

Revised July 2019.

All schools must have a complaints procedure in place.

Complaints about:

  • student – should be directed to the school’s headteacher
  • A teacher– should be directed to the school’s headteacher
  • A headteacher– should be directed to the school Board of Governors/Directors, owners or legal representative
  • The board of governors/directors or owner– should be directed to the headteacher and to the Educational Officer of the British Council, Madrid, when it is an educational matter. Issues of contract or client-company agreements should be directed to the appropriate Spanish authorities, for example the ‘Ministerio de Trabajo´.
  • A school– should be directed to the headteacher in the first instance. Thereafter:
  • A NABSS Code of Ethics issue – should be directed to the Executive Committee of NABSS.
  • Employment practices– should be directed to the local office of the ‘Ministerio de Trabajo´.
  • Child protection issues– should be directed, in the first instance,  to the headteacher. If further action is required, the social services should be contacted and the ‘fiscal de menores´.