Complaints Procedure & Guidelines

April 2024


The Board of Management wishes to remind the DSP community of the procedures which should be observed in circumstances where difficulties arise and a party wishes to make a complaint. These procedures have been negotiated nationally between all the partners in education. In addition, the Board of Management offers the following guidelines which should be followed in stage 1 of the procedures.


• If an incident occurs, care should be taken to discuss the situation in a calm and reasonable manner.
• An appointment for a meeting should be made to discuss the situation with a view to resolving the problem.
• It is not advisable to conduct such a meeting with a child present unless it is agreed by both the teacher and parent that this is appropriate.
• Confidentiality between both parties is essential.

These procedures and guidelines are in place in order to preserve one of the central relationships in the school community, that of the parent and

Important note: Revised procedures for processing complaints by Parents will be prescribed for all schools under Section 28 of the Education Act 1998. When available, the revised procedures will be sent to each school and will replace the procedures printed here. Please ensure that the correct and up to date procedures are used.


Only those complaints about teachers which are written and signed by parents/guardians of pupils may be investigated formally by the Board of Management, except where those complaints are deemed by the Board to be,

(i) on matters of professional competence and which are to be referred to the Department of Education.

(ii) frivolous or vexatious complaints and complaints which do not impinge on the work of a teacher in a school.

(iii) complaints in which either party has resource to law or to another existing procedure. Unwritten complaints not in the above categories may be processed informally as set out in Stage 1 of this procedure.

Stage 1

1.1 Concerns/issues about a child need to be discussed with the class teacher(s). Class teachers can be communicated with via or by filling out a phone call or meeting request form Contact – DSPNS. A phone call or meeting may then be arranged. A number of meetings may be required before moving to the next step.

1.2 If, following the phone calls and/or meeting/s with the class teacher, a parent/guardian feels that the matter has not been resolved, an appointment should be made with the Principal. A number of meetings may be required before moving to the next step.

1.3 If a parent/guardian feels that the issue has not been resolved at this point, the next step is to communicate with the Board of Management. The parent/guardian should seek an appointment with the Chairperson of the Board of Management with a view to resolving the complaint. Further meetings can be convened by the Chairperson as appropriate.

If the parental concern relates to whole school issues, Step 1.1 above may be skipped and the parent should come directly to the Principal. If approached, PTA members and Board of Management (BOM) members should follow and promote the procedures outlined above for dealing with suggestions and concerns in relation to the school. It is not the responsibility of the PTA or members of the BOM to make requests or pass messages on behalf of other parents.

Stage 2

2.1 If the complaint has not been resolved at stage 1, the parent/guardian who wishes to pursue the matter further should submit the complaint in writing to the Chairperson of the Board of Management. This commences stage 2.

2.2 The Chairperson should provide a copy of the written complaint to the teacher against whom the complaint has been made, without delay.

2.3 The Chairperson should seek to resolve the complaint between the teacher and the parent/guardian within 10 school days of the commencement of stage 2.1. This may require one or more meetings to be
convened by the Chairperson with the teacher/parent/guardian and other school personnel as deemed appropriate by the Chairperson.

Stage 3

3.1 If the complaint remains unresolved following stage 2 and the parent/guardian wishes to pursue the matter, they should inform the Chairperson in writing of this fact. The Chairperson should make a formal
report to the Board of Management within 10 days of receipt of this written statement. At this meeting, the Board can decide to proceed to either stage 3.2 or 3.3.

3.2 Where the Board considers the complaint, the process may be concluded at this stage, if the board considers that:

  • a) The complaint is frivolous/vexatious;
    b) The complaint has already been investigated by the board;
    c) The complaint is more appropriately dealt with through a more
    relevant DE circular, or;
    d) where recourse to law has been initiated.
    Where the Board determines the complaint is concluded at this stage, the parent/legal guardian should be so informed within five days of the Board meeting

3.3 Where the Board decides to proceed to a hearing, it should proceed as follows:

  • a) the teacher should be informed that the complaint is proceeding to a full hearing and the Chairperson must ensure the teacher has been supplied with all documents which are being considered by the Board.
  • b) the Board should arrange a meeting with the parent/guardian if it considers such to be required. The parent/guardian is entitled to be accompanied and assisted by a friend at any such
  • c) the teacher should be afforded an opportunity to make a presentation of their case to the Board. The teacher is entitled to be represented by a friend or a union representative, who
    may be accompanied for the purpose of assistance and note taking.
  • d) the teacher should be requested to supply a written statement to the board as the employer in response to the complaint. This written statement will be confidential to the employer and will
    not be shared with any third party.
  • e) the meeting of the Board of Management referred to in 3(b), (c) and (d) will take place within 10 days of the meeting referred to in 3.1. in so far as possible.

Stage 4

4.1 The Board will consider the complaint and the response provided and will adjudicate on the matter. The Chairperson should convey the decision of the Board in writing to the teacher and the parent/guardian(s) within five days of the meeting held at stage 3.3.

4. 2 The decision of the Board shall be final.

(In this agreement ʻdaysʼ means school days.)

5.0 Conclusion

This policy should be read in conjunction with other relevant school policies e.g. Communications, Anti Bullying, Positive Behaviour Plan, Dignity at Work, Acceptable Technology Use, Code of Behaviour.

This policy was ratified at a Board meeting on 29th April 2024.

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