The Independent Office for School Dispute Resolution (the IO) now provides 'Conflict Coaching'. Principals can call the IO if they are dealing with an especially challenging conflict with a parent, even if there is no formal complaint. For instance, there might be a pattern of raising many minor complaints, an incident that has triggered ongoing poor behaviour, or a polarised view developing in a parent group over a decision or issue.
The IO can be a confidential sounding board, a conflict coach, and a source for strategies for Principals to try to resolve these situations, based on our experience with the most severe complaints and most challenging situations with parents.
Conflict Coaching is for the Principal:
- The IO does not contact anyone else involved in the situation without the Principal’s authority to do so.
- The IO does not report to the Department about this coaching work. If an issue turns into a formal complaint, the IO will still be able to help because the IO does not hear evidence or decide matters. The IO will at that point engage with everyone involved.
- Conflict Coaching provides a quick, informal way for Principals to access best practice approaches, support for good resolutions, and ideas to help respond effectively to situations that are more challenging than usual or expected.
The IO hopes that this approach will help resolve issues sooner, reduce damage to relationships, prevent disputes from escalating, build Principal skill and capacity, and minimise the time and resources needed to reach good outcomes.