Complaints – Schools and CFLCs

You can make a complaint about a service, decision or action of Tasmanian Government Schools or Child and Family Learning Centres (CFLCs).

Schools and CFLCs are constantly communicating with parents, guardians, carers, families, learners, and the wider community. Sometimes misunderstandings or dissatisfaction can arise at schools or CFLCs.

Complaints can provide the opportunity to reflect, learn, improve and build positive relationships, which most importantly support students to have a positive learning and schooling experience.

We are committed to responding to complaints in an accountable, transparent, quick, respectful, and fair way. We will acknowledge your complaint in three working days (excluding school holidays).

Do you have a question about schools or CFLCs?

For enquires you can:

If you require further information, email Learning Services Northern Region or Learning Services Southern Region.

What is a complaint?

A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction, by word or in writing. It must come from a person directly affected by an action, decision, or service. It can also be based on a lack of decision, action, or service.

What is not a complaint?

Schools and CFLCs communicate with parents, guardians, carers, families, students, and the wider community every day. Many contacts made are not complaints.

It is not a complaint when you:

  • Ask for more information.
  • Ask for a change in services or a new service.
  • Give feedback to improve services.
  • Express concern about a situation.
  • Are not directly affected by a decision or action.
  • Provide information or report an incident.

The Complaints Management Process

Stage 1

Early Resolution

The first stage in the Complaints Management Process. This involves taking your complaint to the school or CFLC.

This might mean talking to a teacher or other staff member. If the complaint is not resolved, you can then make a time to speak to the Principal. You can also choose to lodge your complaint online.

Stage 2

Internal Review

If you are unhappy with the Early Resolution outcome

Stage 3

External Review

If you are unhappy after the Internal Review outcome

How to make a complaint

There is a three step approach to making a complaint. Instructions and contacts are available in the following sections:

Stage 1: Early Resolution

It is important to resolve complaints as early as possible. The best place to raise an issue or concern is at the point where the problem first arose, by contacting the school or CFLC.

In the first instance, ask to speak to the teacher or a senior staff member. If the matter is unresolved, arrange a time to talk to the Principal.

If you contact another area of DoE before you speak to your school or CFLC, you will be asked to speak to the school or CFLC first.

You can also lodge a complaint with a school or CFLC via our online form.

Remember to give the school or CFLC time to respond. Some matters can be complex and take longer to consider.

Some complaints are not part of our Enquiries and Complaints Policy. See the Excluded Complaints section below for a the full list and available options for these matters.

Stage 2: Internal Review

If you have raised the complaint at the school or CFLC and are unhappy with the process followed or the decision made, you can contact Learning Services.

You can do this by completing a request for an Internal Review with Learning Services through our online form. If you need help to complete the form, contact Learning Services.

You may also contact Learning Services via phone.

You must do this within 28 days of receiving the Early Resolution outcome.

Stage 3: External Review

If you are unhappy after the Internal Review outcome, you can request an External Review through Ombudsman Tasmania. Contact Ombudsman Tasmania online or call 1800 001 170.

Responsibilities when making a complaint

Positive behaviour helps all involved work together to resolve a complaint or enquiry. This benefits the learner and their education.

Enquiry and Complaint Behaviour Expectations

It is important to know:

  • Making a complaint or an enquiry will not disadvantage a parent, carer or student.
  • A person making an enquiry or complaint has the right to be heard. They will be treated with fairness, courtesy and respect.

Staff, students, parents, and carers should act in line with the Respectful School Visitor and Volunteer Procedure.

Making a complaint or an enquiry

There are responsibilities when making a complaint or an enquiry. When you make a complaint or an enquiry you should:

  • Keep learners’ educational needs as the focus.
  • Include all facts and evidence to support your complaint. Identify in detail the reason for the complaint and the resolution you want.
  • If the complaint is complex, it can take more time to deal with and resolve.
  • Make complaints in good faith and bring all parties together to find a resolution.
  • Don’t include harmful/untrue comments.
  • Don’t make a complaint to annoy someone
  • Those involved in a complaint should cooperate with the complaint process. They should also be courteous and act with respect. Abusive language or behaviour is not acceptable and will not help resolve the issue.

Unreasonable behaviour

Unreasonable behaviour will not be tolerated in any situation.

It can lead to serious health, safety, resource, or equity issues for:

  • the Department or Education or its staff
  • other people needing services
  • the person making the complaint.

Examples of unreasonable behaviour include:

  • aggression, abuse or threats
  • constant contact by phone, email, or other methods
  • demanding impossible results
  • being unhelpful or blocking the process
  • claims that can’t be justified.

Excluded Complaints

Some complaints are not covered by our Enquiries and Complaints Policy. Please check the list below to find options for these issues.

List of excluded complaints

Incidents outside of schoolSchools do not have authority of students/learners outside of school hours. Dependent on the nature of the incident contact Tasmania Police. For emergencies contact 000 and for non-emergencies contact 131 444.
Complaints about other parents or members of the school communityIf you have a complaint about a member of the school community, it is a civil matter that you need to seek your own independent advice about.
Restraining OrdersWhere a Restraining Order is obtained and it impacts the school community, a copy of the Restraining Order will need to be provided to the School.
Complaints about a Child Safety matter (such as abuse or neglect of a child)Contact Advice and Referral Line on telephone 1800 000 123. For complaints about Child Safety Services contact
Public Interest Disclosure Act 2002Contact Ombudsman Tasmania on 1800 001 170.
Complaints about Conveyancing AllowanceContact the Department of State Growth in writing at the following address:
Manager Regulations and Concessions,
Passenger Transport, Department of State Growth,
GPO Box 1242, Hobart TAS 7001.
School BusesThe Department of State Growth is responsible for school bus contracts in Tasmania. Please contact the Department of State Growth, Transport Services directly.
Information on School bus services is available on the Transport Services website.
Complaints about a child safety mandatory reportAll staff members and volunteers MUST make a report directly to the Strong Families, Safe Kids Advice and Referral Line 1800 000 123 (ARL) or make an online notification when they believe or suspect, on reasonable grounds that a child is suffering, has suffered or is likely to suffer abuse or neglect in order to prevent the occurrence or further occurrences of the abuse or neglect.
Trespass Notices issued by a PrincipalIndividuals subject to a Trespass Notice need to seek their own independent advice and remedy through the Courts.
Out of Area EnrolmentsParents seeking a review of an OoA enrolment decision must send a written request to Learning Services (Northern Region) or Learning Services (Southern Region).
Complaints about decisions made under legislation or policy*eg. application of the school uniform policy. Speak to your school or Child and Family Learning Centre (CFLC).
* A complaint can be made on whether the established process has been followed.
Suspensions, Exclusion, Expulsion or Prohibition*Parents seeking a review should must send a written request to Learning Services (Northern Region) or Learning Services (Southern Region).
* A complaint can be made on whether the established process has been followed.
School Association DisputeIn the first instance, contact the chair of the school association. Alternatively, contact or the Tasmanian Association of State School Organisations at
Family Law mattersFamily/carer disagreements about the learner is for those parties (and the learner if over the age of |8 years old) to reach agreement on. This agreement must then be communicated to the School or CFLC.
Student Class PlacementsPlease contact your school Principal to discuss a class placement decision. Alternatively, contact Ombudsman Tasmania online or phone 1800 001 170.

What happens after I make my complaint?

We aim to resolve your complaint as quickly as possible. This can be affected by the complexity and timing of your complaint and the resolution you want.

As a guide:

  • A complaint made at a school or CFLC level can take up to 45 working days (excluding school holidays) to complete.
  • The Internal Review process can take up to 90 working days (excluding school holidays ) to complete. Internal Review Forms need to be submitted within 28 days of receiving a complaint outcome from the school or CFLC.

A resolution may or may not satisfy everyone. Resolutions can include:

  • an explanation
  • reaching a compromise
  • changing a decision or action
  • speeding up a decision.

The Enquiries and Complaints Policy provides further information about how we manage complaints.

Reporting Concerns About Your Safety or the Safety of a Child or Young Person.

The Department is committed to safeguarding the rights of all children and young people to have an education, to be heard, and to be kept safe from harm.

If you have any concerns about your safety or the safety of a child or young person, you must report it immediately by contacting the Advice and Referral Line on 1800 000 123. If you or a child or young person is at immediate risk of harm, contact 000 for urgent police or medical help.