The Independent Office for School Dispute Resolution (IOSDR) was established by the Minister for Education to help resolve escalated complex disputes involving students and their Victorian government school, and Department of Education (the Department). The IOSDR is overseen by a Chair and two Deputy Chairs, appointed by the Minister for Education, who are experts in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) processes.

Using this approach, the IOSDR helps people reach a workable solution to ongoing issues between a school and family. If no resolution is possible, a recommendation can be made to the Department about what further steps may be helpful.

Normally eligible disputes are referred to the IOSDR by the Department's Complaints and Improvement Unit (CIU) as part of the Department's normal complaints escalation process.

The referral requires both the parent/s and the school to agree to work with the Office.

The Office does not fill the role of an advocate, and so will only become involved through a direct contact from a parent in exceptional cases and the Office always requires both the school and parent to look for a solution.

In summary, if a parent has a complaint – there are 3 steps to follow, as set out below:  

Step one: The parent should speak to the classroom teacher or year level coordinator, they are most likely to be able to help. If the parent still needs to make a formal complaint, it should be raised with the Principal or Assistant Principal.

Step two: If the school cannot resolve the concern, the complaint can be escalated to the Department's local regional office. A Community Liaison Officer (CLO) will work with the parent, the school and other necessary experts to help resolve the complaint.

Step three: If the matter remains unresolved, the parent can contact the Department's Complaints and Improvement Unit (CIU). A member of the CIU will contact the parent and discuss possible measures which can be taken. This may include the matter being referred to the Independent Office if the matter can be resolved using an ADR approach.

If you need assistance, please contact us 03 7022 1199 or at