Complaints, Bullying, Child
Complaints about schools
Should I contact the Department about my complaint?
the Education Act 1998, legally, all schools are managed by the school Board of
Management, on behalf of the school patrons or trustees or Education and
Training Board (known as the management authority). It is the management
authority that employs the school’s teachers and other staff members. In ETB
schools, the ETB is the employer. The school principal manages the school on a
day to day basis.
As the Department has no role in the employment of staff in
schools or schools’ day to day management, a complaint about the child’s school
and its staff should be made to the school itself.
Accordingly, whereas the Department provides funding
and policy direction for schools, the Department does not have the power to
instruct schools to follow a particular course of direction with regard to
individual complaint cases.
Who do I contact when making a complaint about my child's
If you're worried about your child at school or you have a
complaint about the school, your child's class teacher (or tutor) is the best
person to approach first for an informal discussion.
If your complaint is about a staff member (excluding the
principal), you should contact the school principal.
Complaints regarding the principal should be directed to
management authority of the school.
How do I contact my child's teacher or school principal?
They will usually be in the classroom during the day, but you
can leave a message with the school office asking the teacher/principal to
What if I am not happy with the teacher’s response?
If the teacher can't help, or if you are not satisfied with
their response, you can talk to the principal of the school (depending on your
complaint, a school’s own procedures may ask you to speak to another member of
staff before speaking with the principal). You should be able to arrange a
meeting or a telephone conversation through the school’s office.
What if I am not happy that the school principal has resolved my
If you can't resolve a problem informally, the school should
have a formal complaints procedure that you can follow. This procedure should
lay out what you may have to do and how long it should take the school to deal
with your complaint.
The standard complaints procedures have been agreed between
school management authorities and teacher unions. These may give you a good
idea of what is involved. Select from the list below to view the agreed
procedures for that sector:
My child is in Primary School
My child is in a Secondary School which is not a ETB school
My child is in a ETB Secondary School
Typically, if having spoken with the school principal,
you are still not happy that your complaint has been resolved you may contact
the chairperson of the school’s management authority. In the case of ETB
schools you may contact the Education and Training Board.
If the chairperson cannot resolve your complaint they should
discuss the matter at a meeting of the management authority. Check with the
chairperson if you should put your complaint in writing. Generally, only those
complaints about teachers which are written and signed by parents may be
investigated formally by the management authority.
Shortly after reaching its decision, the management authority
will let you know its decision on your complaint. This decision ends the school
Can anybody else investigate my complaint?
In accordance with the Ombudsman for Children Act
2002, the Office
of the Ombudsman for Children provides an independent and
impartial complaint handling service. Under section 9 of the Act, the
Ombudsman for Children can investigate complaints relating to the
administrative actions of a school recognised by the Department of Education
and Skills provided the complainant has firstly and fully followed the
school’s complaints procedures. The key criterion for any
intervention by the Ombudsman for Children is that the action complained of has
or may have adversely affected the child.
More information about the Ombudsman for Children can
be obtained on www.oco.ie or
by contacting them at:
for Children’s Office, Millennium House, 52-56 Great Strand Street, Dublin 1
865 6800 Free-phone: 1800 20 20 40
Who deals with teacher and principal under-performance and
This is a matter for the school management authority. The
relevant information can be accessed by clicking the following links:
Circular 0060/2009 Primary, Secondary and Community &
Circular 0071/2014 ETBs
Who deals with School Transport Complaints?
Please see information regarding school transport including Guidelines for Discipline and Procedures for Dealing with Alleged
Misbehaviour on School Transport.
Who deals with complaints which are not school based?
Some Department programmes and services are delivered
to the public through a range of organisations. There are separate arrangements
for complaints about the State Examinations, 3rd level colleges, universities etc.
You should contact these bodies directly for further information.
Where can I get information about Expulsions, Suspensions and
Refusals to Enrol?
Information on Expulsions, Suspensions and Refusal to enrol.
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