Complaints about schools and other educational institutions
Are you a parent of a pupil, a pupil yourself or student, and are you dissatisfied with a school or educational institution? Or do you feel that something has gone wrong? Discussing the situation with those directly involved will often solve the problem. The school administration may be able to mediate, or there may be an internal or external confidential counsellor you can speak with.
The school’s complaints procedure
If the school administration or the confidential counsellor is unable to help you find a solution, then you may submit your complaint in accordance with the complaints procedure of the school or other educational institution. You will find the complaints procedure in the school prospectus. If an institution is not required to publish a school prospectus for parents, caregivers and pupils (as is the case in intermediate vocational education), you can consult the institution’s website. Complaints procedures in education are subject to legislation, and the specific rules may vary by educational sector.
Complaints procedure by educational sector
According to the school’s complaint procedure, you may submit a complaint to the school administration, the governing body or to a complaints committee. If the school does not have its own complaints committee, then it must be affiliated with a regional or national complaints committee.
If your complaint relates to the management or another member of staff, then you can contact the school’s competent authority (i.e. the governing body) or the executive board. The governing body will inform you about how to submit your complaint.
Inspectorate does not deal with individual problems
Please be aware that the Inspectorate of Education does not look into or solve individual problems experienced by parents, pupils or teachers. We do, however, wish to form the most complete picture possible of schools and other institutions. We would therefore like to hear from you if you have a complaint about a school or educational institution. Please use the contact form to notify us about your complaint. Your notification (we call this a ‘signal’) will be forwarded to the inspection team of the relevant school or educational institution. The team will read your notification and add it to the records of the school or educational institution. The team may also discuss your notification with the governing body or include it in a subsequent inspection of the governing body and school. In the case of very serious complaints, we may conduct a specific inspection.
Reports and complaints about sexual abuse, violence and safety should be submitted to the Inspectorate’s Confidential Inspectors. See the section on ‘Reports and complaints relating to violence and safety’ elsewhere on this page.
Advice on complaints for pupils, parents and teachers
You may wish to gather more information prior to approaching the school with your complaint. There are various organizations that can provide parents, pupils and teaching staff with advice.
Parents may contact:
The following can provide pupils with advice:
- Secondary education: Landelijk Aktie Komitee Scholieren (LAKS)
- Intermediate vocational education: Jongeren Organisatie Beroepsonderwijs (JOB)
- Higher education: Interstedelijk Studenten Overleg (ISO) or Landelijke Studenten Vakbond (LSVb).
- Teaching staff may approach their trade union for advice regarding complaints.
Reports and complaints relating to violence and safety
The Inspectorate has a special responsibility with regard to problems of sexual harassment, sexual abuse, psychological and physical violence, discrimination and radicalization in schools, educational institutions and childcare. Parents, pupils, teachers, administrators, governing bodies and confidential counsellors may contact the Inspectorate’s Confidential Inspectors to discuss problems they are encountering in these areas. The Confidential Inspector listens, informs, and advises where necessary. Your report will be registered in a confidential file. If necessary, the Confidential Inspector may also advise you on the process of submitting a formal complaint or filing a police report.