Feedback and complaints about a school or preschool

A parent or student can raise a concern or complaint if they think that the school or a staff member has:

  • done something wrong
  • failed to do something it should have done
  • acted unfairly or impolitely.

Teachers, principals, preschool directors, and other education department staff will work alongside you to agree on a plan of action and a timeframe for resolving your issues or concerns.

Sometimes a complaint is about something we have to do because of state or federal law. In such cases we are able to talk to you about the matter and help you understand the requirements and why they exist.

Before you begin

There are some points to keep in mind if you have a complaint about public education and care:

  • Clearly identify the issue and let us know what you would like us to do about it.
  • Write down key points to refer to when you report the problem.
  • A friend or representative from a support organisation can attend any meeting with you. This person is not there to speak for you or to answer questions on your behalf. It's important that it's your opinions and feelings that are voiced and heard by all parties.
  • If an interpreter is required, please let us know prior to any meeting.
  • Written or verbal complaints should focus on the facts or details of what happened - avoid personal insults, inflammatory statements and threatening or intimidating comments.

How to make a complaint

1. Tell the school or preschool first

Contact the school to arrange a time to meet with the teacher or have a discussion with them on the phone. They will look into your concerns and get back to you as soon as possible.

If the matter is not resolved, or if your complaint is about a teacher, you may want to meet with or write to the principal or director. They will work with you and the staff member to resolve the issue.

The school or preschool will aim to resolve your concern or complaint as soon as possible - ideally within 15 working days.

2. Contact the Education Complaint Unit

If you have contacted the principal or preschool director and you are not satisfied with the outcome, you have the option to contact the Education Complaint Unit.

Contact online or phone 1800 677 435 (standard call rates apply for calls from mobile phones).

The officer handling your complaint will:

  • acknowledge and assess your complaint
  • clarify what outcome you are seeking
  • gather and review information
  • liaise with the school/education office
  • update you on steps
  • advise you of the outcome once the department believes the matter has been given fair consideration and is finalised.

If you wish to provide feedback including suggestions about our services, we will make sure it is passed on.

Will I be treated fairly?

You will not be discriminated against if you make a complaint. All staff are bound by the Code of Ethics for South Australian Public Sector which requires staff to act impartially, fairly and equitably.

Anonymous complaints and feedback are accepted, provided there is enough information to action and/or respond.

Other options

If we can’t resolve your issue through the school or education complaints unit, you may choose to seek independent advice and review by an external agency. The circumstances of your complaint will influence whether this option is available.

An external review or advice can be sought through the South Australian Ombudsman.

Related information

On this site

Interpreting and translating

Other websites

School or preschool directory




Department for Education

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Page last updated 2 July 2019

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Department for Education
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