Help with filing a complaint

Are you dissatisfied with your situation at school? Or do you think your school has treated you unfairly? If so, you could file a complaint! It is logical that you do not immediately know how best to go about this. Below we explain the steps you can take:

Step 1: Have a conversation with the school

It is always a good idea to talk to the school first. Explain calmly what you disagree about. Is the complaint about a teacher? Then first discuss what is bothering you with this teacher. If you cannot work it out together, you can always involve your mentor, department manager or dean. If several students in your class have the same complaint, you can also discuss it as a group.

If it is a sensitive complaint (sexual harassment, sexual abuse, psychological and physical violence, discrimination and radicalization in schools), you can contact your school’s confidential advisor. You can find who the confidential advisor is in your school’s school guide. You can also contact the confidential inspectors of the inspectorate.

Step 2: Go to your school’s student council or participation council

It is a good idea to check whether several students at your school have the same complaint or suffer from the same problem. Because if that is the case, you can also approach your school’s student council with this complaint. Ask them to discuss it with the management. Or come up with a joint action to raise and address the problem at your school. You can also ask the student council to investigate whether your problem also exists among your fellow students.

Another option for a general complaint is to approach the students on your school’s representative council (MR). If necessary, involve parents in this as well. With more people you are stronger. Ask the students and parents from the MR to discuss the complaint during a meeting. They can then see if the MR can do something about the complaint.

Step 3: File a formal complaint

Do you not come to an agreement with your school during discussions about your complaint? Then as a student you can file a formal complaint with the Complaints Committee. Your school’s school guide should tell you how to file a complaint. The school guide can be found on your school’s website. Some schools have their own complaints committee. Other schools are affiliated with regional or national grievance committees. When filing a complaint, the school must ensure that:

  • Your personal information will be handled confidentially;
  • The complaints committee handles the complaint objectively and independently. So the person who handles your complaint should never be the one you also complained about;
  • You as a student may explain your complaint.

You can also report your problem to the inspection. Please note that the inspection does not handle individual complaints! But they do like to hear if something is wrong. Because if they receive many of the same complaints about your school, they can investigate your school’s policies.

Do you have a specific complaint about your test or school exam? Check your school’s exam regulations first!

Step 4: Awaiting the verdict

After you as a student file the complaint, the complaint committee will first see if it can rule on the issue your complaint is about. If so, you can explain your complaint orally or in writing. The defending party also gets this opportunity. Then the Complaints Committee delves further into your complaint and reaches a verdict.

The complaints committee submits this verdict to the competent authority of your school. After four weeks, the competent authority of your school must let you know whether it agrees with the verdict. If it agrees, the authority must also let you know what action it will take based on the verdict.

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