The Independent Office for School Dispute Resolution resolves issues in Victorian government schools.
We work with parents, students and the school community using an independent and fair process.
The Independent Office for School Dispute Resolution can be approached to facilitate a final attempt at consensual resolution if the Department's usual systems have been exhausted but a complaint remains unresolved.
What we do
- We review and solve escalated, complex disputes in Victorian government schools.
- We use an alternative dispute resolution approach. This allows everyone to work through the issues in a timely way and for free.
- We support everyone in the matter, including parents, students and principals.
- We are independent of the Department of Education and Training.
- We want the best outcome for students and their education.
Access our services
We are the final step in resolving issues.
Always speak to your school first. They can solve most problems.
If you're not satisfied with your school's response, you should follow the complaint process from the Department of Education and Training.
If you're not satisfied with the Department's response, and the matter is eligible, they will refer your complaint to us.
You can also contact us directly if you think your matter should be considered by the office.
Call 7022 1199 or email
How to make a complaint
How we resolve issues
We manage each issue according to its needs. We take a flexible approach to help people reach a workable solution. If this is not possible, we can make recommendations to the Department of Education and Training about what to do.
Our staff are experts in alternative dispute resolution and school education.
We can also call on a pool of experts to help solve problems. These experts come from a range of fields, including:
- school education
- child development
- cultural liaison
- family disputes
- mental health
- bullying preventing.
The guidelines for the independent office explain our functions and role.
Download guidelines in Word format (docx, 939kb)Download the guidelines in PDF (PDF, 582kb)
Chair and deputy chair
The independent office is overseen by an independent chair and a deputy chair. They are experts in alternative dispute resolution.
Frank Handy - Chair
Frank has extensive experience and qualifications in alternative dispute resolution. He has over twenty years of experience in Australia, Canada, the UK, the US and other countries, resolving disputes, consulting for organisations, and educating people about conflict management, with a wide variety of private and government organisations.
Jo-Anne Mazzeo – Deputy Chair
Jo-Anne is an alternative dispute resolution lawyer with a particular interest in mental health and disability law and diverse experience across similar Review Panels, Boards and Tribunals. She has significant experience working with children and vulnerable cohorts and has a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Laws and other Qualifications in mediation, leadership, investigations and training and assessment. She is currently the Principal Legal Officer for the Disability Services Commissioner, the Deputy Chair of the Patient Review Panel and a Senior Lecturer with Monash University.
The following office members are experts that may be engaged during a dispute:
Experts in school education
Elene Archbold, Brian Henderson, Brian O'Dea, Karen O'Dowd, Jenny Wajsenberg and Warren Wills.
Experts in subject matters
Natasha Belmont, Vera Briggs, Fiona Downing, Richard Gould, Liz Kelly, Fred Stern and Sandie de Wolf.
Independent Office for School Dispute Resolution fact sheet (docx, 124kb).
Independent Office for School Dispute Resolution fact sheet (pdf, 383kb).
The Annual Report of the Independent Office for School Dispute Resolution is contained within the Department of Education and Training's Annual Report. The Department's Annual Reports are available here.
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