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A guide to state schools >

Parent participation

Parents and community members are encouraged to play an active role in the education of their children. Queensland state schools value the partnership of parents in helping to enrich learning opportunities for students.

Keeping informed

The department provides many formal and informal opportunities for parents to find out about their children's progress at school.

Some of these include:

Reports on student performance
Schools provide reports to parents to inform them of their children's progress. All schools are required to provide parents with a written report on their child's performance at least twice a year.

School annual reports
All schools must publish a minimum set of information for parents and the community to read.

This publication must be accessible on the school's website. The information includes:

Many schools produce regular newsletters to inform parents, caregivers and community members about school activities, developments and initiatives.

Schools often communicate information about specific issues relating to a student by way of a personal letter, usually sent home with the student. Personal appointments - Parents are encouraged to meet with any staff member at a mutually convenient time at their child's school to discuss relevant issues and concerns. Every school must offer parent-teacher interviews each semester.

Parent-teacher nights
Schools may hold these nights at the start of the year to discuss class or year programs with parents. There are also other opportunities, such as parent-teacher interviews to talk about issues or concerns, and to ask how children are performing and progressing at school.

schools + parents magazine
The department's Facebook, Twitter and YouTube External Link accounts promote departmental initiatives and events and provide a range of information to schools and the general public.

schools + parents online
schools + parents online is a free monthly e-newsletter focusing on current and upcoming news, events, education programs and policies for parents of Queensland state school students. Sign up now for free email updates from Education Queensland External Link.

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Becoming involved

School activities
Parents can be involved in a range of school activities such as assisting in the classroom, helping with excursions and camps, or offering their expertise to help organise extracurricular activities such as sports carnivals and musicals.

School councils
Some schools have a school council that plays a more formal role in setting the future direction of the school. Parents are represented on every school council and are elected every two years. See School Council Handbook for details.

Community participation officers
Community participation officers based in district offices, and school-based workers such as parent liaison officers, focus on increasing parent and community participation in schools.

Parents and Citizens' Associations
State schools offer opportunities for parents to join a Parents and Citizens' (P&C) Association. These associations are involved in a variety of school activities from policy to financial planning as well as tuckshops, fundraising, school functions and out-of-school-hours care.

Most state schools have a canteen or tuckshop staffed by parent volunteers. The Queensland Association of School Tuckshops (QAST) is a non-profit, community-based organisation developed to assist tuckshop workers and school communities to provide great-tasting and healthy foods.

The service to members includes regular magazines, special events specifically for tuckshop workers, support for the Smart Choices strategy, and advice on tuckshop management issues including volunteer workforce strategies, menu development, pricing, healthy food ideas and marketing. For more information visit the QAST website External Link or phone (07) 3324 1511.

P&Cs Qld
P&Cs Qld is a statewide organisation representing Parents and Citizens' Associations. Members can help shape P&Cs Qld policy and have their views represented at state and local levels. P&Cs Qld is represented on a number of key education bodies, including the Queensland Studies Authority Board and the Queensland College of Teachers.

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Making a complaint

During the course of your child's school years, you may have cause to make a complaint about an issue you feel is adversely affecting your child's education.

Education Queensland is committed to ensuring that all complaints - whether they relate to a school staff member or a school's operations - are dealt with in a fair and equitable manner.

When making a complaint, you have a responsibility to:

In most instances, staff members are told of complaints made about them and offered the right of reply. A complainant also has the right to have a support person throughout the process. If your complaint relates to suspected official misconduct or criminal activity, then you should direct your complaint directly to the Crime and Misconduct Commission or the Queensland Police Service.

The following five-step procedure assists parents, guardians, staff and school personnel in reaching an outcome that is in the best interests of the student:

  1. Discuss your complaint with the class teacher

    If your complaint is with your child's teacher or an issue concerning your child's experience at school, make an appointment with that teacher as soon as possible through the school administration to resolve the problem at this level.

    The teacher will make a record of the complaint and report your meeting and any outcomes to the school principal. Where the teacher has been approached but the issue remains unresolved, make an appointment with the school principal to discuss the issue further.
  2. Discuss your complaint with the principal

    If your complaint is related to the school more generally, you should raise your complaint directly with the principal. The principal will make a record of your complaint and work with you to resolve the issue.

    Complaints to the principal may be lodged by telephone, writing or in electronic format. Email addresses can be accessed through the Schools Directory.

  3. Contact district office

    If you have discussed the issue with the principal and still feel that your complaint has not been addressed, you have the right to contact the Executive Director (Schools) who is the supervisor of the principal and oversees activities of schools.

    Complaints may be lodged by telephone or in writing. Complaints should be specific in detail, and outline the steps taken to date to resolve the issue.

    When you contact the district office you will be advised that your name and the nature of your issue will be reported back to the principal of your school. Staff at the district office will attempt to resolve the issue.

    Addresses and telephone numbers of district offices are listed on pages 45-46 of this publication.

  4. Complaint still not resolved?

    If you feel that your issue has not been resolved through the district office process, you have a further right to make a complaint to the central office of Education Queensland.
    You may choose to progress your complaint in writing to the:
    Deputy Director-General Education
    PO Box 15033
    City East QLD 4002
    phone (07) 3237 0618
    fax (07) 3221 4953.

  5. Independent review

    If, as a complainant you feel that your issue has not been resolved through these formal processes the Queensland Ombudsman provides an avenue for an independent review of the department's decision.

    The Ombudsman may be contacted at:
    Office of the Ombudsman
    GPO Box 3314
    Brisbane QLD 4001
    phone (07) 3005 7000
    fax (07) 3005 7067.

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A role for Parents and Citizens' Associations

Parents and guardians may sometimes feel overwhelmed when approaching a school or the department with a complaint. While P&Cs Qld does not advocate on behalf of individual parents or caregivers, individuals can request their own Parents and Citizens' Association (P&C) to provide support in these circumstances.

Complaints about services that are run or managed by the P&C at your school, for example after-school care or tuckshop - should be directed to the P&C in the first instance.

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This page was last reviewed on 16 Jan 2014

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