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Schools & kura

Raising concerns and making complaints

Making a complaint to an outside organisation

Many of these organisations will only look at complaints if you have tried to resolve the issue through the school first but are unhappy with the outcome. If you haven’t talked to your school first, they will probably instruct you to (unless you’ve got a good reason why you can’t talk to the school, like a safety concern).

Many will also not respond to anonymous complaints.

Office of the Ombudsmen

Deals with complaints about decisions by school boards and official information complaints

The Ombudsman can investigate complaints about decisions made by your school board. If the Ombudsman decides the board acted unfairly, it can make a recommendation to the school. The Ombudsman can’t make the school accept its recommendation, but most are accepted.

This is also who you can complain to if a school denies your request for official information.

Education Review Office (ERO)

Deals with complaints about how the school is run

ERO evaluates the running of every school and kura once every three years. Generally, ERO doesn’t deal with individual complaints. However, if several people make similar complaints, ERO will make a note and look at the issue when they next visit. In extreme cases, they can bring the next review forward or organise a special review.

All complaints are noted, and could affect the school’s ERO report, which is a public record.

Who should I contact?

If your situation involves:

Who can help

A serious issue with a teacher

Education Council

The curriculum or teaching and learning

Ministry of Education or the Education Review Office

Safety of school equipment or school buildings

Ministry of Education or the Education Review Office

Decisions of the school board

Office of the Ombudsmen

Privacy complaints and breaches

Privacy Commissioner

Official information complaints

Office of the Ombudsmen

Counsellor issues

New Zealand Association of Counsellors


Human Rights Commissioner

Legal issues affecting children and young people under 25


Education law issues (like the ones in this book)

Student Rights Service (free phoneline)

General issues concerning the welfare of children and young people

Children’s Commissioner

Safety or protection or children and young people

Oranga Tamariki

Physical or sexual harm at school

New Zealand Police

Where to go for more support

Community Law

Your local Community Law Centre can provide free initial legal advice and information.


Advocacy Centre IHC

National Office

PO Box 4155

Wellington 6140

Tel: (04) 472 2247

Free Phone: 0800 442 442


Education Review Office

PO Box 27002

Wellington 6011

Auckland: (09) 377 1331

Hamilton: (07) 838 1898

Napier: (06) 835 8143

Whanganui: (06) 349 0158

Wellington: (04) 381 6800

Christchurch: (03) 359 4814

Dunedin: (03) 474 9519


Human Rights Commission

PO Box 12411

Wellington 6144

Infoline: 0800 496 877

Txt: 021 0236 4253


Ministry of Education/

Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga

PO Box 1666

Thorndon, Wellington 6140

Tel: (04) 463 8000

Fax: (04) 463 8001

E-mail: enquiries.national@education.govt.nz


New Zealand Association

of Counsellors

PO Box 2514

Wellington 6140

Tel: 04 471 0307


New Zealand Teachers Council

PO Box 5326

Wellington 6145

Tel: (04) 471 0852


www. teachingcouncil.nz

Office of the Children’s Commissioner

Level 7, 10 Featherston St

PO Box 5610

Wellington 6145

Tel: (04) 471 1410

Free Phone: 0800 224 453



Office of the Ombudsmen

Level 7, 70 The Terrace, Wellington

PO Box 10152

Wellington 6143

Level 10, 55 Shortland Street, Auckland

PO Box 1960


Level 6, 764 Columbo St, Christchurch

PO Box 13482

Christchurch 8141


Complaints Free Phone: 0800 802 602


Privacy Commissioner

PO Box 10 094

Wellington 6143

Enquiries line: 0800 803 909



Student Rights Service

PO Box 24005

Wellington 6142

Free Phone: 0800 499 488


Learning Support Services (used to be called Special Education)

Learning support line: 0800 622 222



Level 1, 219 Federal Street, Auckland CBD

PO Box 7657

Auckland 1141

Tel: (09) 309 6967 (Collect calls accepted from

under 25s anywhere in NZ)


Next Section | Some key terms

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Raising concerns and making complaints

Where to go for more support

Community Law


Your local Community Law Centre can provide initial free legal advice and information.

Also available as a book

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