How to Write a Letter of Complaint to the Headmaster

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Addressing a complaint or concern with your child's school can be a touchy matter. It's natural to have a strong desire to defend your child, but it is also important to be respectful when addressing sensitive concerns with the school's headmaster. After all, this is the person responsible for the well-being of your child while he or she is at school. It's essential to approach a complaint letter to the headmaster professionally and with the right mentality.

Be professional. Type the letter in a word processor, using a professional letter template. Handwritten notes are great for sentimental cards, but a complaint letter to a headmaster is a business matter. The headmaster will take it more seriously if you approach it as such.

Be friendly, yet authoritative. Approach the letter with a clear head and remember that the person you are writing to is responsible for your child's education. This mentality will help you write the letter in the appropriate tone.

Use more facts and less emotion. It's OK to say how an incident made you or your child feel, but don't let anger or frustration influence how you write the letter. Instead, detail the incident and provide any documentation you might have that supports your complaint.

Keep your point at the front of your mind and make an effort to be concise, which promotes clarity. Make sure that if the headmaster has only a few moments to read the letter, the message comes through. Being concise also guards against a tirade, which is unprofessional and ineffective.

Ask the headmaster to take action. Think carefully about what reasonable action he can take to resolve your complaint. This gives you something by which to gauge the effectiveness of your letter, and it gives the headmaster some direction toward a successful resolution.

Proofread for more than spelling and grammar. Focus on the message and tone of the letter. If you can have someone else read it, that's even better. A letter's tone can often be misconstrued, as there are no facial expressions or inflection to serve as cues. Having a third party read the letter and provide input can significantly reduce the potential for miscommunication.

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