The Catholic Schools Office (CSO) and schools in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle are committed to providing a positive, safe environment for all staff and students. There are occasions, however, when members of our schools and wider community are concerned about something happening at a school that appears to be unsatisfactory or unreasonable.
Complaint of Abuse or Neglect
If your complaint alleges a child or group of children were abused or neglected by an adult or another child, the complaint should be reported to the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle’s Office of Safeguarding. P | 4979 1390 during office hours or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information, visit the Child Protection website.
Complaints Resolution Process
This five-step process will help you and the school reach an outcome that is in the best interests of your child.
1. Discuss your complaint with the class teacher
Most complaints should be resolved at the local level. The teacher will make a record of your complaint and report your meeting and any outcomes to the school principal. Contact the school to make an appointment with your child’s teacher.
2. Discuss your complaint with the principal or their delegate
If you can’t resolve your concerns after speaking to your child’s teacher, you can raise your complaint with the school principal. The principal or delegate may be able to help you and the teacher resolve the problem. Complaints to the principal can be submitted in person, by telephone, in writing or via email.
3. Contact the CSO Family Liaison Team
If you have not reached a resolution through steps 1 and 2, you should contact the Parent Liaison Team. You can lodge your complaint in person, by telephone, in writing or online.
You can lodge an online complaint here. To submit online, complete the online form, save to your desktop and email to email@example.com and a member of the Family Liaison Team will be in contact within 3 business days to discuss your concerns.
Your complaint should outline the steps you have taken to resolve the issue and include your full name and address. It is a good idea to keep a copy of any correspondence for your own records.
Your name and the nature of your complaint will be sent to the principal of your school. A representative from the Parent Liaison Team will then work with you and your school to seek a resolution. Anonymous complaints will only be acted on if enough information has been provided to allow for follow up with the relevant school principal.
4. Contact the Director of Schools
If your issue has not been resolved through the above process, or if you would like a review of the complaint outcome because you have information that the complaint outcome was incorrect and/or the complaint handling process was unfair, you can lodge your request with the Director of Schools.
Your request must be in writing addressed to the Director of Schools and must be made within 10 working days of the initial complaint decision. Your request should outline the steps you have taken to resolve the issue, the reasons for the request for review and include your full name and address. You should also sign and date it and it’s a good idea to keep a copy of any correspondence for your own records.
If your complaint relates to the Director of Schools, you may submit a request for review of the complaint outcome to the Bishop.
5. Independent Review
If your issue has still not been resolved through the above process, or you would like an external review, you may seek advice from an external agency. The Office of the Advocate for Children and Young People provides a useful guide here.
Important points to remember
Before making a complaint
- Your child’s school is the first point of contact
- Concerns are best resolved at the school
- A positive relationship between parent/carer and school is important
- The issue you raise may be governed by CSO policies and guidelines.
Making a complaint about a school
- Provide complete and factual information
- Make your complaint as calmly as possible
- Avoid making frivolous complaints, or using deliberately false or misleading information
- Speak directly to the principal if your complaint relates to general school matters or school policy
- Speak to the Parent Liaison Team if your complaint is about a school principal.
- If you make a complaint about a staff member, they will generally be told and offered the right of reply
- You can have a support person with you throughout the process.
Catholic Schools Office
841 Hunter Street, Newcastle West NSW 2302
PO Box 714 Newcastle NSW 2300
P | 02 4979 1200
F | 02 4979 1209
E | firstname.lastname@example.org
Parent Liaison Team
E | email@example.com
Office of Safeguarding
50 Crebert Street, Mayfield NSW 2304
P | 02 4979 1390
E | firstname.lastname@example.org