Complaints Policy

Where parents or teachers wish to address a problem or item of concern the following procedures should be followed.

Parental Complaints Procedure

The parental complaints procedure was revised and agreed by the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation and the
management bodies of primary schools, the Catholic Primary Schools Management Association, the Church of
Ireland, An Foras Pátrúnachta, the Muslim Primary Education Board, Educate Together and the National Association
of Boards of Management in Special Education in 2023. It is designed to provide an open and clearly defined
process to facilitate parents/legal guardians in raising concerns about their own child/children in an agreed, fair and
transparent manner.
It is recognised that parents/legal guardians are the primary educators in a child’s life and as such from time-totime concerns may arise which they may need to engage with the school. It is expected that engagement will be
timely, courteous and resolution focused to ensure that the important relationship between the parent and school
can be preserved and respected. It is expected that all parties concerned will engage proactively.
Procedural Points
The procedure is a staged procedure where every effort is made to resolve matters at the earliest possible
stage. In most cases, concerns will be dealt with either informally or formally at the earlier stages of the
procedure. Where it has not been possible to agree a resolution at the earlier stages, the procedure does
allow for the escalation of the matter to the Board of Management. This procedure sets out, in four stages, the
process to be followed in progressing a complaint and the specific timescale to be followed. It is expected the
parties will follow each stage in sequence.
• Where the term written correspondence is used, this
refers specifically to a letter or email correspondence
from a parent/legal guardian(s).
• Only complaints about a teacher which are written
and signed by a parent/legal guardian, and which
relate to their own child, will be investigated.
• Where a complaint raised by a parent/legal guardian
is deemed by the employer/board of management to
relate to the following, this procedure will not apply;
• matters of professional competence and which are
to be referred to the Department of Education;
• frivolous or vexatious complaints and complaints
which do not impinge on the work of a teacher in a
school; or
• complaints in which either party has recourse to
law or to another existing procedure.
• In all circumstances, any form of written
correspondence for the attention of the Board of
Management must be supplied to the Chairperson of
the board of management only. Any deviation from
this could be deemed prejudicial and as acting outside
the scope of this agreement.
• Days in this procedure refer specifically to school
days. A school day is a day on which the school is in
operation. Holiday periods, school closures and leaves
of absences are not counted as school days for the
purpose of this procedure.
• Group/collective complaints are not provided for and
each parent/legal guardian raising a concern will be
dealt with separately through this process.
• The procedure is a domestic forum and accordingly,
neither management nor the INTO intends that there
would be legal representation at any stage.
• Issues should be raised in a timely manner. It is in the
best interests of the child that issues are raised to
achieve early resolution at the earliest possible stage
with the teacher, ideally while the pupil is in that
teacher’s class.

Formal Stage 1


1.1 Parent/guardian
meets teacher
A parent/legal guardian who
wishes to make a complaint in
respect of their own child, should,
seek an appointment with the
teacher concerned with a view to
resolving the complaint. Further
meetings with the teacher can
be convened as appropriate

1.2 Parent/guardian
meets Principal1
Where the parent/legal guardian
is unable to resolve the complaint
with the teacher, they should seek an
appointment with the Principal with
a view to resolving the complaint.
Further meetings can be convened
by the Principal as appropriate

1.3 Parent/guardian
meets Chairperson
Where the complaint remains
unresolved, the parent/legal 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.

Complaint resolved
The complaint may be
resolved during this stage.

Formal Stage 2 (10 days)


2.1 Written complaint
sent to Chairperson
If the complaint has not been
resolved at stage 1, the parent/
legal 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 Chairperson provides a
copy to the teacher
The Chairperson should provide a
copy of the written complaint to the
teacher against whom the complaint
has been made, without delay.

2.3 Chairperson
convenes meeting(s)
The Chairperson should seek to
resolve the complaint between
the teacher and the parent/
legal 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/legal guardian and other
school personnel as deemed
appropriate by the Chairperson

Complaint resolved
The complaint may be
resolved at this stage

Formal Stage 3 (20 days)

Board of Management

3.1 Chairperson makes a
formal report to the Board
If the complaint remains unresolved
following stage 2 and the parent/
legal 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 Complaint concluded
Where the Board considers the
complaint, the process may
be concluded at this stage, if
the board considers that:
a) The complaint is
b) The complaint has already been
investigated by the board;
c) The complaint is more
appropriately dealt with through
a more relevant DE circular,
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 Proceed to a hearing
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/legal
guardian if it considers such
to be required. The parent/
legal guardian is entitled to be
accompanied and assisted by
a friend at any such meeting.
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.

Formal Stage 4 (5 days)


4.1 Written decision
from Chairperson
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/legal
guardian(s) within five days of
the meeting held at stage 3.3

4.2 Complaint concluded
The decision of the
Board shall be final

Teachers Concern

Teacher makes an appointment with a parent, making parent aware of the nature of the issue. If unresolved the teacher informs the Principal who will discuss the issue with the parents. If still unresolved, the teacher will inform chairperson who will try to resolve the complaint. If the situation is still unresolved the Chairperson will bring the matter to the attention of the Board of Management.

It should be stressed that parents are always welcome to discuss matters of concern with a class teacher at any time during the school day, without an appointment. Meetings of this nature should be brief i.e. 3 minutes, but it is our experience that issues can be quickly resolved with clear communication. Parent and teacher meetings must be conducted in a civil manner.

Any aggressive or abusive behaviour will not be tolerated.

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