Raise a complaint or concern about your school

You can raise concerns about your child's education directly with the school or through the Department. Always speak to your school first. They can solve most problems.

This information is for Victorian government schools only.

If your concern relates to a catholic school, you can contact the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria.

If your concern relates to an independent school, you can contact the Victoria Registration and Qualifications Authority

If you think a child may be at risk of abuse or danger, call 000 or your local police station.

​​How to make a complaint

The aim of this process is to resolve complaints with a focus on student wellbeing and keeping them engaged in learning.

You can read more about the process here - Complaints and concerns quick reference guide (pdf - 81 (pdf - 81.7kb)

School complaints must be made in this order:

1. Speak to your school first

Your school is best placed to work with you to fix your concerns.

Before you approach your child's teacher or other school staff:

  • be clear about the issues you want to discuss
  • focus on the facts and the things that affect your child
  • remember you may not have all the facts yet
  • think about how the matter could be resolved
  • check our policies and the school's policies. You can ask the school for a copy of their complaints policy, or it may be on their website.
  • be realistic about what the school can do.

When working through a complaint, everyone must:

  • listen to each other's views
  • work towards a solution
  • be cooperative, respectful and kind
  • respect people's privacy and keep things confidential

School staff will follow legislation (the law), Department policy and the code of conduct for Victorian public sector employees.

If you have raised your concerns with your child's teacher and are dissatisfied, you may wish to escalate your complaint to the principal.

If your concern is about a principal, and you do not want to raise it directly with the principal, contact your closest regional office.

2. If you are still unhappy with the school's response, contact the Department's regional offices

Call 1800 338 663 or email enquiries@education.vic.gov.au.

You will have the opportunity to explain your concern and what you are seeking as a resolution. The Department staff member will help record your complaint and explain the steps they will take.

You need to give the Department staff member time to speak with the principal and anyone else involved with the issue. If the issue is complex it could take a little longer to work through.

3. If you have received a response from the regional office, and you are unhappy with the outcome, contact our central office.

Our central office can work with you to resolve concerns you may have with the response you received from the region or in relation to the school. The central office can also refer eligible complaints to the Independent Office for School Dispute Resolution.

You can contact our central office by completing an online form.

Before you complete the central office online form, please ensure you have spoken with your school and regional office. Please also read through our privacy consent notice. This explains how the Department will handle personal information that is submitted via this online complaint form.

Read the full privacy consent notice

Data collected

Complaints received via this online form may include personal information such as name and contact details and information regarding the complaint and the school concerned. All information collected will be handled in accordance with the Privacy Data and Protection Act 2014 (Vic) (the PDP Act), the Health Records Act 2001 (Vic) (the HR Act) and the Public Records Act 1973 (Vic).

Purpose and use of data collected

The primary purpose for collecting this information, via Formsite is to enable the school community to raise any complaints they may have regarding Victorian government schools. The information gathered will be used by the Department to contact you in relation to the complaint you have made. Information provided in the complaint will be used and disclosed for the purposes of working with schools and appropriate areas of the Department to try and resolve complaints and ensure that improvements are made to processes and systems.

Our learnings from your complaint may be disclosed in a de-identified manner to other public sector age’ncies to share those learnings and assist those agencies also. Complaints which may be of criminal in nature may be directed to Victoria Police. Some information you provide (the school and complaint type) may be used in a de-identified and aggregated form for DET reporting for internal reporting to identify where improvements can be made to processes and systems.

Means of collection and storage of data

The Formsite online platform will initially collect the complaint information, before the information is transferred to a restricted location on the Department’s SharePoint system. Only those involved in administering and assisting the complaint will have permission to access the complaint information in an identifiable form.

If colleagues in other agencies are provided information about your complaint to share the Department’s learning, this will only be done in a de-identified manner and sent securely. If your complaint information is required to be used and/or disclosed by law, then the Department will do so securely.

For further information on this statement, the complaints process or to request access and correction of personal information, contact school.complaints@education.vic.gov.au

For more information, regarding access to personal information or DET’s handling of personal information please read DET’s Privacy Policy

For more information about FormSite please visit their Privacy Policy

Consent

By completing the school complaints form on Formsite you agree that you have read this data collection statement and consent to your information being collected by Formsite and for to DET to collect your information and use and disclose your personal information and other information you have provided in this school

You can also contact the central office by telephone on (03) 8688 7885 (message callback service) or by post:

Deputy Secretary, Schools and Regional Services
c/o Manager, Complaints and Improvement Unit
GPO Box 4367 Melbourne VIC 3001

4. If you are still unhappy with the Department's response, you can contact the Victorian Ombudsman.

It might not always be possible to resolve your complaint in the way that you would like. We can only resolve complaints in ways that are in line with Department values, policies and the law.

You can contact the Victorian Ombudsman on (03) 9613 6222 or via its website www.ombudsman.vic.gov.au/

​Use a support person

You can have a support person to help you at any time while making a complaint.

The support person can be someone in your family, a friend, community member or from a support agency.

The support person can:

  • help you clarify the issues
  • discuss difficulties you're having about the complaint
  • help create a good working relationship between you and the school
  • help you understand our policies and any resolutions proposed.

Let the principal know you want to use a support person when making the complaint. You should provide their name, contact details and relationship to you.

Policies

Schools must have a policy that explains how they will handle your complaint and give you a copy if you ask.

Schools and Department staff must also follow the Department's parent complaints policy.

It may be useful to read some of the policies as they may relate to the issues you wish to raise:

Privacy

We must handle personal, sensitive and health information in accordance with:

  • the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic)
  • and the Health Records Act 2001 (Vic).

The information you give us will be used to assess and respond to your complaint. This information is stored securely and used mainly by people who handle the complaint. Information may be used outside of the complaint handing process when necessary and allowed by law. For example, if there was a serious risk to the safety of someone.

You can request access to information about you held by us. To request access, first speak with the person handling your complaint. You may need to lodge a freedom of information request.

You can also read the schools privacy policy and the Department's privacy policy.