Managing School Complaints

Introduction of a revised Model School Complaints Procedure

As you may be aware, from 1st April 2017 the remit of the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman (NIPSO) has included the investigation of complaints from members of the public in relation to maladministration in publicly-funded schools.

In order to support schools, the Education Authority has been working with the Ombudsman’s office and a range of other education bodies to review the existing model School Complaints procedure and guidance documents, in order to ensure that these are compliant with the new powers associated with the Ombudsman’s office. A copy of a revised Model School Complaints Procedure is included with this letter, for your information and for discussion with your Board of Governors and staff.  The reason for re-issuing the document is that we have now produced it in Word format which should make it easier for schools to adapt and customise for their own use.

You will note the following main changes in the revised Model Policy:

  • The current complaints procedure is a 5 stage procedure. Under guidance from NIPSO, this has been revised to a 2 stage procedure;
  • After conclusion of the second stage of this procedure, complainants may choose to refer a complaint to NIPSO.

Please note that implementation of the revised Procedure will be monitored and reviewed throughout the 2017/18 academic year and during this time your views will be sought regarding the enduring Procedure. Your views and suggestions regarding the development of guidance materials for principals and governors will also be warmly welcomed. It is anticipated that the enduring version of the Procedure will be brought into effect to coincide with the reconstitution of Boards of Governors in 2018/19.

A series of information and training sessions for school Principals, in relation to the revised School Complaints Procedure, is planned for the Autumn term, 2017. Details of dates, venues and how to register for these sessions will be sent in a separate email.

Information and training sessions, in relation to the revised Model School Complaints Procedure were provided for Governors during the summer term of 2017 and a further series of information and training sessions is planned for Governors during 2017/18. 

Last upated: 17/10/2018