Tips for resolving a complaint with your education provider

Give yourself the best chance of resolving your complaint directly with your education provider with these tips.

Focus on the main problem

Take some time to identify the issue that you want to complaint about.

What should be done to fix it?

When to write and when to phone

It’s best to put your complaint in writing, especially if your complaint is complicated.

You can talk to your student support services first to clarify issues, learn more about the education provider’s complaint process or identify the correct person to write to. You might be able to resolve your complaint just by talking to someone.

If you decide to speak with someone first, ask to speak to the person who deals with your type of complaint. Tell them your complaint and ask them if they can help and what they intend to do. Make a note of who you spoke to, when you spoke to them, and what was said.

If you’re unsure whether they understood your complaint, or you’re not satisfied with the response you’ve received, put your complaint in writing and keep copies of your correspondence.

If you find it difficult to put your concerns in writing, ask a friend, relative, or other support person to help you.

What to include in your complaint

Address your email or letter to the person who is responsible for dealing with your type of complaint, if there is one.

If you don’t know who that is, write to the head of the education provider, such as the chief executive, director, or the board.

Set out your complaint as clearly and briefly as possible. Stick to the main points and don’t go into too much detail. Include:

  • Your name and contact details
  • Relevant dates, places and times
  • A description of the problem, incident or the decision being disputed
  • Details of any conversations, meetings, or other steps you’ve taken to try and sort out the problem
  • Any other information you think is important
  • Any relevant documents.

Tell them what you want to happen

After explaining the problem, tell your education provider how you'd like to resolve the issue. Explain that you are giving them the chance to fix it.

Make sure that what you’re asking for is reasonable. If your request is realistic, you are more likely to get what you ask for.

Ask the education provider to acknowledge your complaint in writing and to give you an estimate of how long it will take to deal with your complaint. If there is any urgency, let the education provider know and explain why.

Keep records

Keep copies of all correspondence you send and receive, and any other important documents or notes, such as details of phone calls. This will be helpful if you need to make a complaint to NZQA or another external complaint body.

Follow up

If nothing happens, call your education provider to check on the progress of your complaint.

If there has been no progress, write to the education provider again. If you are unable to sort the problem out after making a reasonable effort to do so, contact NZQA.

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