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Academy give factual reference only.

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Sir_Reynolds, Nov 21, 2019.

  1. Sir_Reynolds

    Sir_Reynolds New commenter

    Hello, I have worked 7 years at a SEN school who have recently been taken over by an academy.
    I am looking to move on and need references. The SLT are great and historically would happy and able to provide a good 'graded' or qualitative reference.
    Since we have joined the academy only a 'factual references' are permitted, simply dates of employment for example.
    This is proving a problem for some potential employers who require a reference with qualitative feedback.
    Is there simply nothing I or any of my colleagues can do on this point?
    Any help gratefully received.
  2. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    You are right that it is a problem for the potential employers who will have to get a bit more up to date. A great many schools only give simple references confirming dates of employment and so on.
    Nope. Kicking up a stink isn't going to make your employers give you a paragraph or three of glowing prose.
  3. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Can colleagues give a "personal reference", ie not on behalf of the academy, or is that prevented somehow? Then you would have you "factual reference" from the school to meet safeguarding requirements, and another that is more qualitative.
  4. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    The worst possible issue of a minimal factual reference is that a potential employer could think that the nature of the reference means something negative remains unsaid which the referee nonetheless does not want to commit to paper.
    You state you have a nice leadership, so can you not speak to them about it? You wont be able to change the academy policy on references, but you may be able to obtain a statement of that policy, which although still does not fill in any gaps which might be suspected, does demonstrate that their limits as referees are a blanket procedure.
    Dunno, or see if they can add that statement to the reference.
    Maybe they do, who knows.
    This might help a little?

    The other thing you can do is on the point of application, contact the body to whom you are applying and explain the issue. Ask them if they would like more references going back in time. Not instead of, but in addtion to those on the formal application form. Maybe it wont be the first time they have come across this.
  5. hhhh

    hhhh Lead commenter

    Outside 'normal' schools, this is very common-the two biggest employers in my area only offer:'Sara was employed from 1st Jun1998...' type references.
    sbkrobson likes this.
  6. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    It's funny how things change.
    When I started teaching my colleagues were allowed to take a reference with them from previous head to literally put in the hand of a potential employer. Handwritten. Curly. In ink, on posh school paper. More a sort of testimonial. I remember seeing things like "The children still talk fondly of the excellent wall display they did for Armistice Day" and "it is with the utmost regret that we have to loose such a spritely mind".

    Now it's just "started September, finished August, no punch ups, no theft, bye"
    It has been known to take many many weeks to receive this.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2019
  7. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    I still have the hand written reference on school notepaper that my form tutor supplied for me in 1972 so I could get a Saturday job at Woolworths!
  8. FollyFairy

    FollyFairy Occasional commenter

    This type if reverence does seem to be the norm now. Where I currently work, it's because HR have been 'outsourced' to save money. I explained the situation to my new school and offered personal references too which they accepted.
    Piranha and DexterDexter like this.
  9. Flippas

    Flippas New commenter

    I know from personal experience that a short, factual reference can seem like a bit of a slap in the face, particularly if you have been in post for a long time, and that it may make you worry that you will be at a disadvantage when applying for jobs. However, HTs will be understanding if you explain that this is in line with policy at your school. I was able to offer a second, fuller reference which was accepted by my new school.
  10. DexterDexter

    DexterDexter Occasional commenter

    My academy was taken over by a huge MAT. Just putting “Mrs X from HR head office for Mrs Headteacher” was fine.
    How long have you known the referee? Start date at Soulless Academy.

    Reference: D Dexter started on this date, finished on that. No deaths or injuries to report.

    Standard in business becoming more standard in education.
  11. simplyme2

    simplyme2 New commenter

    Can you not get a colleague to send a proper reference from their school email? Your head of department?
  12. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Have you not been asked for 2 referees?

    Fear not. A clean bill of health re safeguarding goes a long way. This is becoming ever more common. You won't be the only one to have a reference that looks like this.
  13. starlightexpress

    starlightexpress Occasional commenter

    I still have the ones from my Saturday jobs. In the back of my burgundy ‘record of achievement’ ;-)
  14. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    I had this last year as a part-time employee of my local council in a non-teaching role. Council policy. Pathetic if you ask me, but there you go.

    Try to get a personal reference if you can, assuming the new employer wants two.
  15. sooooexcited

    sooooexcited Established commenter

    Moving forward, if you and your colleagues will only be given dates of employment, there doesn't seem any need to put in 70 hour weeks or try your best for your students...whether you're outstanding or inadequate, your references will be the same so maybe this is a chance for you all to put reasonable expectations on yourselves rather than working yourselves into the ground like others who need a good reference!
    DexterDexter likes this.

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