Most enquiries, concerns and complaints are resolved successfully at the school level.
Your enquiry may relate to a policy, procedure or regulation that Department staff (including school staff) operate under. If this is the case, for information you may wish to contact the Department’s Information and Referral Service by email or call 1800 809 834.
The information below is to assist parents who want to raise a concern or make a complaint that is related to their child's education or government school.
For information on the Department's policy and guidelines regarding complaints, see:
To print a general information sheet about the complaints process, see:
When making a complaint:
- your child's schools should always be your first point of contact
- concerns are best resolved at the school
- the Department expects that most complaints will be resolved by the school.
How do I raise an issue or make a complaint?
Clarify the issue (what is your concern?)
Before you approach the school or your child's teacher:
- be clear about the topic or issue you want to discuss
- focus on the things that are genuinely affecting your child
- always remain calm and remember you may not have all the facts relating to the circumstances of the topic or issue you wish to discuss
- think about what would be an acceptable outcome for you and your child
- be informed; check the departments policies or guidelines, where relevant
- ask the school for a copy of their complaints policy, if they have one
- for further helpful hints, see: Parent Complaints - Further Resources and Information
Contact the school
There are a number of ways you can raise any concerns you have about your child and their education. You can:
- write a note to your child's teacher outlining your concerns
- make an appointment to speak on the phone or in person with their class teacher, the year level coordinator or home-group teacher; ensuring that you inform the school about the issue you wish to discuss
- consider speaking with the school's student welfare coordinator if you feel that this would be appropriate
- arrange any meeting times or phone calls through the school office (this is more convenient for both you and your child's teacher and does not interrupt teachers during the time they need to be with their students).
The class teacher or year level coordinator, together with any others who may be involved, should be given a reasonable amount of time to take the steps required to resolve or address your concerns. Remember, it may not always be possible to resolve an issue to your complete satisfaction.
Contact the principal or assistant principal
Most concerns are resolved by following the first two steps above. However, if the issue remains unresolved after you have approached your child's teacher or other school staff you can then ask to see the assistant principal or principal.
To do this, you will need to request an appointment through the school office. Please note that:
- the principal may ask another senior staff member to speak with you on their behalf
- if a teacher is going to be present at the meeting it is more likely to occur outside of classroom hours.
If your concern is related to issues of school policy, these should be raised more formally (in writing) with the principal or the school council.
Contact the regional office
If you still feel that your complaint has not been addressed satisfactorily after speaking to the teacher and the principal, you can then contact your relevant regional office. If you are unsure about what region your child's school is in, please ask the school.
A regional community liaison officer will be able to provide you with advice and assistance and, if required, direct your complaint to other regional staff to respond.
The Regional Director will ensure any formal written complaint is reviewed.
It is the regional office's responsibility to:
- ensure that complaints, wherever possible, are resolved at the school
- ensure that procedures at the school are in accordance with the Department's regulatory framework.
The regional office may refer your complaint to other areas or branches within the Department. You will be notified of this and of any major delays in addressing your complaint.
For your regional office's contact details, see: Regional Offices
Contact the Department's central office
Contact with the Department's central office should only take place if all other steps have not led to a satisfactory resolution. Where possible, all contact should be in writing.
If it is clear that you have not followed the above steps your letter (and your complaint) will be sent to the relevant regional office. You will be contacted if this happens.
How to lodge a complaint in writing
You can use the Department's complaint form to help you to put together all the information you need to submit a complaint in writing, see: Parent Complaint Form (pdf - 111.93kb)
If you are having difficulties filling out the form you can contact your regional office for assistance.
You can send your complaint by mail, email or fax.
The Department's central office will try to respond within 20 school days. However, the more complex and sensitive the issues you raise, the more time will be needed to investigate or follow up with the relevant parties.
We will let you know if there may be major delays.
Please send your complaint to:
Regional Services Group
c/o Manager, Complaints
GPO Box 4367
Melbourne VIC 3001
Or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or fax: (03) 9637 2180
You may submit your complaint to an external agency if you feel that your issue has not been dealt with appropriately by the Department. For details, see: Parent Complaints - Further Resources and Information