- Schools and CFLCs are constantly communicating with parents, guardians, carers, families, learners, and the wider community. Sometimes misunderstandings or dissatisfaction can arise.
- 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.
- We are committed to responding to complaints in an accountable, transparent, quick, respectful, and fair way.
- Complaints management at a glance (PDF, 335KB)
Do you have a question about schools or CFLCs?
For enquires you can:
- Call the school or CFLC.
- Fill out an online Enquiry Form (Microsoft Form)
If you require further information, email:
- Learning Services Northern Region (Learning.Services.NR@decyp.tas.gov.au), or
- Learning Services Southern Region (Learning.Services.S@decyp.tas.gov.au).
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.
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.
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
Talk the school or CFLC about your complaint. This might mean talking to a teacher or other staff member in the first instance. If you need to, you can 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 stage 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 DECYP 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 options available to address 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 request an Internal Review of your complaint.
You can do this by completing our online form.
If you need help to complete the form, contact Learning Services via phone.
- Learning Services Northern Region on (03) 6777 2440
- Learning Services Southern Region (03) 6165 6466
You must do this within 28 days of receiving the Early Resolution outcome.
Stage 3: External Review
If you are not fully satisfied with the outcome of the Internal Review, you can ask for it to be reviewed by the Tasmanian Ombudsman. The Ombudsman will review your complaint to make sure proper procedures were followed and that you have been treated fairly.
Responsibilities when making a complaint
Positive behaviour helps all involved work together to resolve a complaint or enquiry. This benefits children and young people and best supports their education.
The Respectful School Visitor and Volunteer Procedure (PDF, 520KB) applies at all State Schools and CFLCs.
When you make a complaint or an enquiry:
- Let us know if you need help to make a complaint or be involved in the complaints process.
- Give us a clear idea of your concerns and what you would like to happen.
- Be honest and provide all the relevant information you have about your concerns.
- Be polite and respectful to the people who are responding to your complaint.
- Allow us the opportunity to deliver on the commitments we make to you.
Abusive language or unreasonable behaviour will not be tolerated in any situation.
Some complaints are not covered by our Enquiries and Complaints Policy (PDF, 569KB). Please check the list below to find options for these issues.
List of excluded complaints
Incidents outside of school
Schools do not have authority of students/learners outside of school hours. Dependent on the nature of the incident, consider contacting Tasmania Police. For emergencies contact 000 and for non-emergencies contact 131444.
Complaints about other parents or members of the school community
If 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.
Where 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 the Strong Families, Safe Kids Advice and Referral Line on telephone 1800 000 123. For complaints about Child Safety Services see Complaints – Child Safety Services.
Public Interest Disclosure Act 2002
Contact Ombudsman Tasmania on 1800 001 170.
Complaints about Conveyancing Allowance
Contact 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.
The Department of State Growth is responsible for school bus contracts in Tasmania. Please contact the Department of State Growth, Transport Services directly – School bus services | Department of State Growth.
Complaints about a child safety mandatory report
All Department for Education, Children and Young People staff and volunteers MUST make a report directly to the Strong Families, Safe Kids Advice and Referral Line on 1800 000 123 (ARL) or make an online notification | Strong Families Safe Kids 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 Principal
Individuals subject to a Trespass Notice need to seek their own independent advice and remedy through the courts.
Out of Area Enrolments
Parents seeking a review of an out of area enrolment decision must send a written request to Email: Learning Services (Northern Region) or Email: Learning Services (Southern Region)
Complaints about decisions made under legislation or policy*
For example, 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 Email: Learning Services (Northern Region) or Email: Learning Services (Southern Region). *A complaint can be made on whether the established process has been followed.
School Association Dispute
In the first instance, contact the Chair of the School Association. Alternatively, contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or the Tasmanian Association of State School Organisations at Email: email@example.com.
Family Law matters
Family/carer disagreements about the learner is for those parties (and the learner if over the age of 18 years old) to reach agreement on. This agreement must then be communicated to the School or CFLC.
Student Class Placements
Please contact your school Principal to discuss a class placement decision. Alternatively, contact Ombudsman Tasmania online or phone 1800 001 170.
The Enquiries and Complaints Policy (PDF, 569KB) provides further information about how we manage complaints.
Reporting concerns about your safety or the safety of a child or young person
We are 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 Strong Families, Safe Kids 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.