The purpose of this policy is to:
- provide an outline of the complaints process at Leongatha Secondary College so that students, parents and members of the community are informed of how they can raise complaints or concerns about issues arising at our school
- ensure that all complaints regarding Leongatha Secondary College are managed in a timely, effective, fair and respectful manner.
This policy relates to complaints brought by students, parents, carers, students or members of our college community and applies to all matters relating to our school.
In some limited instances, we may need to refer a complainant to another policy or area if there are different processes in place to manage the issue including:
- Complaints and concerns relating to fraud and corruption will be managed in accordance with the department’s Fraud and Corruption Policy
- Criminal matters will be referred to Victorian Police
- Legal claims will be referred to the Department’s Legal Division
Complaints and concerns relating to child abuse will be managed in accordance with our Child Safety Responding and Reporting Obligations Policy and Procedures
Leongatha Secondary College welcomes feedback, both positive and negative, and is committed to continuous improvement. We value open communication with our families and are committed to understanding complaints and addressing them appropriately. We recognise that the complaints process provides an important opportunity for reflection and learning.
We value and encourage open and positive relationships with our college community. We understand that it is in the best interests of students for there to be a trusting relationship between families and our college.
When addressing a complaint, it is expected that all parties will:
- raise and discuss issues in a courteous and respectful manner
- acknowledge that the goal is to achieve an outcome that is in the affected student’s best interests and acceptable to all parties
- act in good faith and respect the privacy and confidentiality of those involved, as appropriate
- recognise that all parties, including the broader college community, have rights and responsibilities that must be balanced
- recognise that schools and the Department may be subject to legal constraints on their ability to act or disclose information in some circumstances.
Complaints and concerns process for parents, carers and community members
Preparation for raising a concern or complaint
Leongatha Secondary College encourages parents, carers or members of the community who may wish to submit a complaint to:
- carefully consider the issues you would like to discuss
- remember you may not have all the facts relating to the issues that you want to raise
- think about how the matter could be resolved
- be informed by checking the policies and guidelines set by the Department
You are welcome to have a support person to assist you in raising a complaint or concern with our school. Please advise us if you wish to have a support person to assist you, and provide their name, contact details, and their relationship to you.
Raising a concern
Leongatha Secondary College is always happy to discuss with parents/carers and community members any concerns that they may have. Concerns in the first instance should be directed to your child’s teacher, Year Level Coordinator or Sub-School Leader. Where possible, school staff will work with you to ensure that your concerns are appropriately addressed.
Making a Complaint
Where concerns cannot be resolved in this way, parents, carers or community members may wish to make a formal complaint to the Assistant Principal or Principal.
If you would like to make a formal complaint, in most cases, depending on the nature of the complaint raised, our college will first seek to understand the issues and will then convene a resolution meeting with the aim of resolving the complaint together. The following process will apply:
- Complaint received: Please either email, telephone or arrange a meeting through the front office with the Assistant Principal or Principal, to outline your complaint so that we can fully understand what the issues are. We can discuss your complaint in a way that is convenient for you, whether in writing, in person or over the phone.
- Information gathering: Depending on the issues raised in the complaint, the Principal, Assistant Principal or nominee may need to gather further information to properly understand the situation. This process may also involve speaking to others to obtain details about the situation or the concerns raised.
- Response: Where possible, a resolution meeting will be arranged with the Sub-School Leader/Assistant Principal/Principal to discuss the complaint with the objective of reaching a resolution satisfactory to all parties. If after the resolution meeting we are unable to resolve the complaint together, we will work with you to produce a written summary of the complaint in the event you would like to take further action about it. In some circumstances, the Principal may determine that a resolution meeting would not be appropriate. In this situation, a response to the complaint will be provided in writing.
- Timelines: Leongatha Secondary College will acknowledge receipt of your complaint as soon as possible (usually within 48 hours) and will seek to resolve complaints in a timely manner. Depending on the complexity of the complaint, Leongatha Secondary College may need some time to gather enough information to fully understand the circumstances of your complaint. We will endeavour to complete any necessary information gathering and hold a resolution meeting where appropriate within 10 working days of the complaint being raised. In situations where further time is required, Leongatha Secondary College will consult with you and discuss any interim solutions to the dispute that can be put in place.
Please note that unreasonable conduct (e.g. vexatious complaints) may need to be managed differently to the procedures in this policy.
Where appropriate, Leongatha Secondary College may seek to resolve a complaint by:
- an apology or expression of regret
- a change of decision
- a change of policy, procedure or practice
- offering the opportunity for student counselling or other support
- other actions consistent with school values that are intended to support the student, parent and school relationship, engagement, and participation in the college community.
In some circumstances, Leongatha Secondary College may also ask you to attend a meeting with an independent third party, or participate in a mediation with an accredited mediator to assist in the resolution of the dispute.
If a parent, carer or community member is not satisfied that their complaint has been resolved by the college, or if their complaint is about the Principal, then the complaint should be referred to the South East Victoria Region (SEVR) by contacting: email@example.com or 1300 338 738.
Leongatha Secondary College may also refer a complaint to South East Victoria Region (SEVR) if we believe that we have done all we can to address the complaint.
For more information about the Department’s Parent Complaints policy, including the role of the Regional Office, please see: Raise a complaint or concern about your school.
Record keeping and other requirements
To meet Department and legal requirements, our school must keep written records of:
- Serious, substantial or unusual complaints
- Complaints relating to the Child Information Sharing Scheme and Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme, to meet regulatory requirements – refer to Child and Family Violence Information Sharing Schemes for further information
Our school also follows Department policy to ensure that record-keeping, reporting, privacy and employment law obligations are met when responding to complaints or concerns.
This policy will be communicated to our school community in the following ways:
- Available publicly on school website
- Included in staff induction processes
- Included in our staff handbook/manual
- Hard copy available from school administration upon request
Further information and resources
The Department’s Policy and Advisory Library (PAL):
The Department’s parents’ website: