Making a complaint to your child's school

If your child has a problem at school, you should be able to sort it out through an informal discussion with your child's teacher or the school Principal. If you can't resolve a problem informally, the school should have a formal complaints procedure that you can follow.

Contacting your child's school

If you're worried about your child's learning or welfare at school, your child's class teacher or head of year is the best person to approach first. Teachers will usually be in the classroom during the day, but you can leave messages with the school office asking the teacher to get back to you.

If the teacher can't help, or you are not satisfied with their response, you can talk to the Principal. You should be able to arrange a meeting or a telephone conversation with the Principal through the school office. If this isn’t practical, you may wish to make a written complaint.

Complaining to the governing body

If your complaint is not resolved, the next stage is to approach the school board of governors (BoG). All schools are required to have a procedure to deal with any complaints about the school, or to any facilities or services that the school provides for the local community.

If you want to complain to the BoG, ask the school for a copy of its complaints procedure. All complaints to the governing body must be in writing.

Complaining to school management

Some procedures may allow for an additional stage if the Education Authority (EA), Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) or another external agency provides an independent appeal or review.

The EA and CCMS are also required to set up a procedure for dealing with complaints.

Northern Ireland Public Service Ombudsman (NIPSO)

From 1 April 2017, the NIPSO will have the power to investigate and report on complaints about maladministration in all publicly funded schools in Northern Ireland. This means that any pupil or parent who believes that they have been treated unfairly as a result of the actions or decision of a school’s BoG will be able to bring their complaint to the Ombudsman.

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