1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Agreed reference

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Gunnergone, Jun 12, 2020.

  1. Gunnergone

    Gunnergone New commenter


    Left my last job with a settlement agreement, part of settlement agreement was an agreed reference.

    I've tried applying for jobs over the last couple of months and I always seem to fall at the last hurdle, there has been a couple of really strange instances of not getting jobs etc and I am now begining to wonder if my former head is not sticking to the settlement agreement and the agreed reference.

    Is there anyway of finding this out, I've racked my brains out trying to think of a way of testing this. The only way I could think of is a friendly (to me!) head teacher requested a reference both in wiritng and then perhaps following it up verbally and seeing wha is said.

    However part of my SA forbides me to mention the SA and I don't know any other heads to risk doing this.

    At present I feel like my teaching career is over, and I know that I do a good job and want to continue making a difference.
  2. asnac

    asnac Established commenter

    You don't need a friendly HT. An agreed reference should be sent to any prospective employer. If you have a friend who runs a business, get them to pretend you've applied for a summer job and see what comes back from the school.
  3. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Do you mean you have been offered a post subject to references, and then the offer was withdrawn?
    Or do you mean you aren't getting offered posts after interview?
    Or do you mean you aren't being offered interviews?

    It's unlikely that your previous head isn't sticking to the agreed reference, it's much easier on them than having to write you a new one each time.
    Pomza likes this.
  4. jellycowfish

    jellycowfish Occasional commenter

    I was in a similar position. Some HTs may be wary of an agreed reference. Some supply agencies will accept them now (they didn't when I tried, but that was many years ago) so it might be worth going in that direction initially, until you can ask a more recent HT for a reference.
    Gunnergone likes this.
  5. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Two points here, in addition to commiserations.

    Firstly, many Heads can recognise an agreed reference. If, in addition, your last date of employment is not a normal resignation date, they will want to know why. Having a truthful yet acceptable reason for leaving will be important.

    Secondly, people can get jobs with an agreed reference. Indeed there are posters on here who have. I know because I've made suggestions for wording their letter/statement that they followed, and they have told me so.

    I am curious why you say:

    In most cases, a Head will call you to interview based on your application, and at the same time call for references. If the reference seems less than satisfactory, it will be explored at interview.The Head will then use his or her judgment, based on all the evidence including the reference and the interview. You must remember that there is a legal obligation on the referee to provide a reference that is honest, or rather truthful, accurate and fair, so the agreed reference will be that, and the receiving Head can rely on that.

    So what do you mean by strange instances of not getting jobs - this happens to 5/6 interviewees most days!

    Keep on applying, and keep safe
    Gunnergone and agathamorse like this.
  6. meggyd

    meggyd Star commenter

    Whatever the reference says there is sometimes a box that says,"Would you employ this candidate again?" I am guessing that with an agreed reference the answer will generally be "No."
    Gunnergone likes this.
  7. Cantwaittogo

    Cantwaittogo New commenter

    A lot of interviews are followed up by a phone call between Heads - unrecorded and off the record, despite what an agreed reference might say.
  8. cornflake

    cornflake Senior commenter

    It is true that agreed references are pretty obvious - because they will be as a letter/statement and not a response to the endless tick box questions that seem to be the norm these days. But then, references for NQTs are like that from their training institutions too....
    You are meant to be shortlisted on the basis of your application; and appointment based on performance at interview ... with references really just confirming there are no safeguarding issues!
    I have never not appointed a candidate that I wanted at interview on the basis of a less than perfect reference. I have been wary of exceptionally glowing references however....and experience taught me to trust my recruitment processes most.

    So your stumbling block may not be your agreed reference. It may be that the reason you gave for leaving your last post doesn't sound quite right. Theo's advice in her book is good...

    Interestingly I have been asked twice by agencies (in advance) if my reference was going to be agreed.
    As you note, that is tricky to answer if your agreement says you can't disclose that.
    I have also been asked by an agency if the reference I was providing for someone else was agreed.... again, not something that could be answered!
    And in each case, a lack of response would give the game away anyway!

    I personally know of 8 people who have had SAs and agreed references. 3 are currently serving Heads, 2 are teaching successfully. 1 went into supply before leaving teaching altogether to run their own business. So it is possible. (1 of the others has given up; the other is still looking....)
    agathamorse and TheoGriff like this.
  9. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Hullo @cornflake , we get to coincide - and agree - on here from time to time, as we have been doing for more than a dozen years, I reckon. Great headteachers think alike. :D

    Thank you kindly.;)


    Yes, oh yes! And haven't I kicked myself later when on the odd occasion I have gone against my instincts.

    There, you see, it is possible.

    So sort out your application first. On the TES Resources I have posted a free template Executive Summary, to save you all the fuss of formatting your own. Start with doing that, get the correct short mention in your letter/statement about any elephants in the room (saves them having to invent some outrageous reason for any non-standard event in your professional record - "Left after only two terms - he must have been pocketing the dinner money!"), and then the very moment you have pressed SEND and submitted your application, get started on intelligent interview preparation.

    Don't leave it until you hear from them - some interviews are at very short notice.

    Good luck!
    Gunnergone and agathamorse like this.
  10. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    I am going to be picky here, and ask: How do you know? Been a Head for many years, have you? So you have personal experience of this happening?

    What you mean is probably that you suspect that this is what happens on occasion. And you are correct that it does happen occasionally.

    But I would hesitate, from my many years of personal experience, to say A lot of interviews are followed up by a phone call between Heads

    Best wishes
    Gunnergone, sbkrobson and Pomza like this.
  11. Sundaytrekker

    Sundaytrekker Star commenter

    With reference to the above point: in my early years as a head, around the millennium, there was the occasional phone call enquiring about a candidate. Soon after that all safeguarding and HR processes and training made it very clear that this must not happen, a head could be in trouble for unfair recruitment processes and you must rely on proper, official references and your recruitment only. After that, I only recall about two, ‘I’ll let the reference speak for itself’ type of comments. A phrase I used myself to cover any possible eventuality. So, no, there are not follow up phone calls between heads in my experience of nearly twenty years recruiting.
  12. celago22

    celago22 Established commenter

    I just want to add here that my previous HT supplied a reference that was factually inaccurate. It was brought to my attention by the recruiting HT, I think he sniffed a rat. So whilst HTs shouldn't write untrue references, some very silly ones do! I asked the recruiting HT for a copy of the reference which he provided. I'm assuming you could do too. They might then become suspicious but at least you would know what the HT is writing about you.
    Gunnergone likes this.
  13. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    I can tell you with absolute certainty that not all HTs call each other to make informal enquiries about job applicants.

    HT turnover has been so high in recent years, that many in a local area don’t even really know each other. Plus, as more and more schools join MATs, there is less and less interaction with other local schools that would once have been managed by the same LA.
  14. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    Well a lot has been said already which constitutes good advice about settlement agreements and accompanying references, but additionally if I may, I'll say something about you.
    In your post there are at least 10 errors-a mix of spelling and punctuation and grammar.
    Now I know we are not meant to call out a poster on their spelling, as it does not contribute to the point being made, but in this case, perhaps the spelling is the point.
    Your post is decently written in terms of what you want to say, but that many errors on an application form and, no-you wont be selected.
    Proof read.

    This is not meant as a personal dig at you, it is meant as good advice.
    As all advice posted already above-keep applying irrespective of whatever reference you think is swapping hands, but in addition to above advice-have someone else proof read your application. It's really important.
  15. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    This is good advice. I get nearly every formal letter I ever write proof-read and there are frequently errors I hadn’t noticed myself.

    I’ve seen so many letters written by teachers with numerous mistakes. It doesn’t give a good impression.
  16. rooney1

    rooney1 Occasional commenter

    My union rep insisted that my reference stated that the head would employ me again. Maybe that's unusual. Not that I would EVER have gone back to work for them. I was asked to go and do some cover at the school (It has a different head now). I had to say that I was sorry but it was extremely unlikely that I would be able to walk through the gate let alone enter the building.
  17. averagedan

    averagedan Occasional commenter

    Sometimes, even with an agreed reference, an off the record conversation will be had if the heads know each other. I would suggest applying for a job out of area - it may improve your chances.
    sooooexcited and Cantwaittogo like this.
  18. Gunnergone

    Gunnergone New commenter

    Just to clear something up, I'm writing this on my husbands behalf (trying to write as first person and failing), he was head of literacy/Second in English at his last school for 16 years. He won't come on here as he as all but given up hope of getting a job again.
  19. Gunnergone

    Gunnergone New commenter

    Think the head is giving verbal references rather than the agreed reference in writing for starters.

    There is a lot I could post which would show some of the strange things that are happening, however I think they would give away too much detail and if anyone was reading from the old school my husband would be in trouble as officially there is no settlement agreement.
  20. Gunnergone

    Gunnergone New commenter

    He has tried applying for a couple of jobs in the same area as his old school, and heard nothing back at all.

Share This Page