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Guide to Complaints - COBIS Schools

COBIS schools all meet high standards of quality which are determined through the rigorous COBIS membership application process. In addition, a significant number of COBIS members have been inspected by British Government and COBIS recognised external inspectorates. Published reports are public documents and available for review.

From time to time, however, a cause for complaint may arise. COBIS always takes seriously and considers carefully any complaint referred to it. Our response, and the scope and limits of our powers, are determined by our purposes as an organisation. We offer clear guidance here about how we consider complaints.

COBIS exists to represent the collective interests of its member schools, to offer them opportunities for professional information, training and improvement, and to promote the quality and reputation of the best in British international education worldwide.

COBIS publishes standards that we expect and require of our member schools. These are expressed in the very detailed criteria for independent inspection by accredited agencies, as approved and monitored by the British Government – and also in Codes of Conduct published from time to time (for example the COBIS Codes of Ethical Conduct, and of Good Governance).

Upon receipt of a complaint, we shall acknowledge it within three working weeks. The school will be informed unless there are defined reasons against this; for example where the complaint is summarily dismissed by COBIS or where the complaint is judged to be ultra vires. Once a school has been informed of a complaint we may request further information. Confidentiality cannot, therefore, be guaranteed.

The matters raised will then be considered by the CEO along with the Vice Chairman. Where clear evidence is presented that suggests that a Board of Governors or Head have failed to meet our standards, then the Vice Chairman and COBIS CEO may contact the Board of Governors or Head to request explanation. Upon receipt of this, they may then offer judgement and constructive advice, informing both the Board and Head, and also the complainant. In the event of an unsatisfactory response, the school’s membership may be reconsidered by the Board, and in serious cases suspended or terminated. In all cases, the judgement of the Board is final.

It must be clearly stated that COBIS judges matters of standards, policy and procedure. COBIS cannot, however, become involved in disputes between the school and its individual students, or parents or staff. These are properly matters for the Head of the School and for its Governing Body, as educational providers and employers, and to whom such complaints should be addressed. COBIS' judgement upon where it considers matters of standards, policy and procedure to end, and individual disputes to begin, is final. COBIS will not deal with any complaint which is currently involved in a 'live' legal dispute. 

Furthermore, while we always seek positive and constructive resolution to any complaint, all correspondence from COBIS to a complainant or to a Board of Governors or Head must remain confidential, and may be quoted or shared only with COBIS´s prior written permission.

Please address all complaints to Colin Bell, CEO and e-mail to