The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and its predecessor body, the Education Funding Agency, handles complaints about open academies and free schools. The ESFA cannot change the decision of an academy or free school about a complaint but will review whether the academy or free school considered the complaint properly, in line with its procedures. Where the ESFA identify a concern, they will ask the academy or free school to reinvestigate the complaint or change its procedures.
From 11 September 2015 to 10 September 2018, the ESFA received 6886 complaints about academies and 347 complaints about free schools. Currently the ESFA's systems require the manual interrogation of records in order to identify the number of upheld complaints.
The ESFA were able to quickly refer many of these complaints back to the complainant, as they had not exhausted fully the academy’s complaint procedures. This is required before the ESFA can become involved.
Published guidance on the ESFA’s remit on handling academy and free school complaints is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/complain-about-an-academy.