This information is for Victorian government schools only.
If your concern is about a catholic school, you can contact the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria.
If your concern is about 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.
For more ways to get in touch, visit our contact us page.
How to make a complaint
The aim is to resolve complaints with a focus on student wellbeing and keeping them engaged in learning.
You can read more about the process in the Complaints and concerns quick reference guide (PDF, 87KB).
School complaints must be made in the order detailed below.
What is a complaint?
A complaint is a concern you may have that affects your child's learning or wellbeing. It may include learning support, racism or bullying.
Members of the public, mature minors, adult students and advocates may also raise a concern about actions taken or service provided by the school that affects the community.
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.
Request an interpreter
If you need an interpreter to talk to your school, call the National Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450. For further information, please refer to the department's Interpreting and Translation Services page.
Speaking to your school
It’s always okay to talk to the school about your child's wellbeing or learning. When you raise concerns with the school, it gives them the opportunity to work with you to support your child's wellbeing and learning.
If you do not feel comfortable raising concerns directly with the school, you can contact the department's regional office to discuss your concerns and offer options for moving forward.
Before you speak to the principal
It is important to plan your meeting.
- Book a time to meet with your principal and tell them what you would like to discuss.
- Tell the school if you would like an interpreter or a support person to come to the meeting with you.
- Talk to your child about the concern and see how they feel, what they are worried about, or how they would like the problem fixed.
- Have your information ready such as:
- Letters you might have sent or received.
- Preparing notes to make sure the details of your concern are clear.
- You can ask the school for a copy of its Parent Complaint policy to help.
- You can also ask for help to find and understand other Department of Education policies.
- Think about suggestions or options for resolving the issue to help support your child and how you, your child and the school could work together.
When you meet with the principal
The principal is there to listen to your concerns and work with you to resolve them.
- Start the meeting by clearly explaining your concerns: tell them about the problem, what has happened, and what is happening now.
- Let the principal know how your child is feeling, how the problem is impacting your child's learning and wellbeing, and what help your child needs going forwards. It is important to be open to listening and to speak honestly.
- Take the time to work with the principal to try and find a way to fix the problem together. The school may speak with other teams such as Koorie Engagement Support Officers or Student Support Officers. If the school needs some time to put steps in place to solve the problem, there might be a need for a follow-up meeting.
Report religious or racial discrimination
Everyone in our school community deserves to be respected, valued and treated equally. Discrimination or abuse based on religion or race is not tolerated in our school communities.
There are ways you can report religious or racial discrimination. If your child has been the target of, or has witnessed, religious or racial discrimination or abuse, we encourage you to report it to your school. They will provide the appropriate action and support.
If you are not comfortable reporting to the school, or are not happy with the school’s response, you can contact our Report Racism hotline:
- on 1800 722 476 (available 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays)
- via email at email@example.com
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:
- School costs, payments and charges
- School uniforms or dress code
- School zones
- All school policies
Report abuse if you’re a current or former student
If you have experienced any form of sexual abuse as a student at a Victorian government school, either recently or in the past, we encourage you to report it to us and the police.
Information on access to counselling assistance and other supports, and how to make a claim for compensation, is available on our Report abuse if you’re a current or former student webpage.
We must handle personal, sensitive and health information in accordance with:
- the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (VIC)
- 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 handling 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.
Contact us by phone, email, via our online form.
Phone: 1800 338 663