Who can I make a complaint to if I am not satisfied with the education support my child is receiving?
It is important to know the necessary steps towards registering appeals and complaints in the event you are unhappy with how your child is being supported in school. There are several options available to you if you are unsatisfied with the support you and your child(ren) are receiving. The process of making a complaint depends on what aspect of their education is problematic. You’ll need to determine whether the issue is because of their teacher, their principal, or their SENO. It is important that you keep a record of everything during your engagement with any service and their complaints department. Always make sure that you have everything in writing.
If you have concerns about the support your child is receiving in their school, the first step is to make an appointment with the class teacher and/or support teacher. Outline your concerns in a clear and calm manner, with evidence to support your concerns if available. Remember, this is not an argument, it is a discussion with the aim of accessing the best support possible for your child. The best outcomes usually arise when both school staff and parents work together in the child’s best interests.
However, if you are not satisfied with the outcome of this meeting and you feel your concerns have not been addressed appropriately, make an appointment to meet with the principal. Outline your concerns clearly, calmly and concisely, with evidence to support your concerns if available. As with the teacher, it is not an argument, but a discussion with the principal with the same objective of ensuring that your child receives the best support possible while they’re at school. It is important to note that any person, including members of the public, employers and other teachers may make a complaint about a registered teacher. In addition, the Teaching Council can itself make a complaint about a registered teacher.
In response to this meeting, the principal may present you with a number of options, an example of which may include editing your child’s SSP/IEP to align more appropriately with your views. They may discuss your meeting with the relevant teachers and may then organise a follow-up meeting between all involved parties.
However, if you are not satisfied with the outcome of this meeting and you feel your concerns have not been addressed appropriately, contact the chairperson of the school’s Board of Management (BOM). If the chairperson cannot resolve the matter independently, they will ask you to put your complaint in writing, at which point it can be formally investigated by the BOM.
Your complaint will be discussed at a BOM meeting, which may involve the relevant staff members. After which, the BOM will come to a decision regarding your complaint. This decision will be relayed to you and this ends the school complaints procedure.
However, if you are still unsatisfied with the outcome and you feel your concerns have not been addressed appropriately, you can appeal the decision to the Ombudsman for Children. The Ombudsman for Children will only investigate cases that have exhausted every step of the school complaints procedure, without a resolution being reached. The Ombudsman for Children’s Office is situated at Millennium House, 52-56 Great Strand Street, Dublin 1 and can be contacted by telephoning 1800 20 20 40 or (01) 865 6800 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.