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Bad reference....?

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by harrypop1, Dec 13, 2011.

  1. I?m waiting for my Union's view on this, but in the meantime would appreciate any ideas from people in here?

    Earlier this year I elected to take redundancy from an Academy in the north. After that, a serious incident occurred: two Yr 11 students entered my classroom half-way through a KS3 lesson, one pushing the other into me. I used reasonable force to try to restrain the student and I was punched for my trouble.

    When this happened, my initial reaction was to call the Police. I was talked out of this, the Union rep. in the school suggested that as I had already taken a redundancy option, I should try to keep things low key, especially with one eye on my reference. The Academy certainly did not want Police involvement - nor the negative press that may have followed from that.

    In the Easter holiday I received a letter to say the matter was being 'investigated' and to cut a long story short, I was asked to stay off work until the Year 11s finished. I was never shown the CCTV footage which existed, even though I did request it. In the meeting where I was asked to stay off work, I agreed, but I asked that it not count against me as regards to my reference and I was assured of this (with a local Union officer present). It was not an ?official suspension? it was sold to me as a period away from work to avoid issues with other Yr11s.

    That is the background, now let me get to the main point of this post:

    In September 2011 I approached a local supply agency with a view to obtaining to work. I actually asked for work in Primary education and I stated that I would be keen to work as a teaching assistant in primary, on an initial basis, to build up some experience with that age group. However, I was then hoping that by 2012 I could work as a full supply
    teacher, ideally in primary schools. I was also mindful that once the 'buffer' of my redundancy became reduced, I may even need to return to the Secondary sector.

    My application seemed to be proceeding slowly and recently I received a phone call from the ?compliance department?. I was told that following examination of my references they would recommend me for teaching assistant work, in primary or secondary. I initially said, "Fine, that is what I asked for..." but then it dawned on me what was being said and I discussed it further, I said if after a period of teaching assistant work, I needed to go back into the classroom as a supply teacher (not assistant) could that happen and she just repeated that "following examination of my references they would recommend me for teaching assistant work, in primary or secondary."

    Due to data protection, she could not divulge the details, but I have applied to see my references, a process that will take some weeks. I?m 99% sure it is the academy reference that is the problem, despite my understanding with them.

    Once I confirm this, what are my options?

    Could I write to the Principal at my last place of work, and ask for the reference to be re-drafted?

    Should I write to the supply agency and explain all of the above and hope they reverse the decision regarding my 'status' as a potential supply teacher. When I first approached them, I said nothing of the difficulties I?d had earlier this year, I was just hoping to move on ? away from secondary school and the behaviour problems therein.

    I have contact details for other supply agencies too, but all want a reference from my most recent full-time employer, so I?m reluctant to make new applications until this matter is resolved?

    Any suggestions, would be much appreciated.
     
  2. I?m waiting for my Union's view on this, but in the meantime would appreciate any ideas from people in here?

    Earlier this year I elected to take redundancy from an Academy in the north. After that, a serious incident occurred: two Yr 11 students entered my classroom half-way through a KS3 lesson, one pushing the other into me. I used reasonable force to try to restrain the student and I was punched for my trouble.

    When this happened, my initial reaction was to call the Police. I was talked out of this, the Union rep. in the school suggested that as I had already taken a redundancy option, I should try to keep things low key, especially with one eye on my reference. The Academy certainly did not want Police involvement - nor the negative press that may have followed from that.

    In the Easter holiday I received a letter to say the matter was being 'investigated' and to cut a long story short, I was asked to stay off work until the Year 11s finished. I was never shown the CCTV footage which existed, even though I did request it. In the meeting where I was asked to stay off work, I agreed, but I asked that it not count against me as regards to my reference and I was assured of this (with a local Union officer present). It was not an ?official suspension? it was sold to me as a period away from work to avoid issues with other Yr11s.

    That is the background, now let me get to the main point of this post:

    In September 2011 I approached a local supply agency with a view to obtaining to work. I actually asked for work in Primary education and I stated that I would be keen to work as a teaching assistant in primary, on an initial basis, to build up some experience with that age group. However, I was then hoping that by 2012 I could work as a full supply
    teacher, ideally in primary schools. I was also mindful that once the 'buffer' of my redundancy became reduced, I may even need to return to the Secondary sector.

    My application seemed to be proceeding slowly and recently I received a phone call from the ?compliance department?. I was told that following examination of my references they would recommend me for teaching assistant work, in primary or secondary. I initially said, "Fine, that is what I asked for..." but then it dawned on me what was being said and I discussed it further, I said if after a period of teaching assistant work, I needed to go back into the classroom as a supply teacher (not assistant) could that happen and she just repeated that "following examination of my references they would recommend me for teaching assistant work, in primary or secondary."

    Due to data protection, she could not divulge the details, but I have applied to see my references, a process that will take some weeks. I?m 99% sure it is the academy reference that is the problem, despite my understanding with them.

    Once I confirm this, what are my options?

    Could I write to the Principal at my last place of work, and ask for the reference to be re-drafted?

    Should I write to the supply agency and explain all of the above and hope they reverse the decision regarding my 'status' as a potential supply teacher. When I first approached them, I said nothing of the difficulties I?d had earlier this year, I was just hoping to move on ? away from secondary school and the behaviour problems therein.

    I have contact details for other supply agencies too, but all want a reference from my most recent full-time employer, so I?m reluctant to make new applications until this matter is resolved?

    Any suggestions, would be much appreciated.
     
  3. VelvetChalk

    VelvetChalk New commenter

    Just stating something from a general view aside from the incident you describe (as I am not sure whats going on there)


    Despite QTS legally making you able to teach any age group Some agencies (and rightly so in my opinion) are less keen to give secondary teachers primary teaching work as a) They often have an abundant list of primary teachers already b) Primary teachers overall are a safer better to send into primary schools as that is what they are trained for. This also works the other round with Primary wanting secondary.


    I suggest trying to ask to teach the age/subject you are trained, as that may be met with more success.
     
  4. Thanks for that point, but I am determined to try to move into Primary - secondary schools especially in my subject area are a nightmare - that is why I have offered myself as a teaching assistant in primary initially, to get some experience there and the agency were quite positive about that back in September. However, it is one thing for me to tell the agency that I want assistant work - it is a different matter entirely when they say that I can only work in that role, due to a reference issue, that is the point of my posting, but thank you for replying.
     
  5. As far as I understand it, you have a right to view anything that is written about you. I left a primary school where the head honestly made Miss Trunchball look quite emotionally balanced and unsuprisingly I got a less than glowing reference. I went to the LEA office to view the reference so that I could tackle what was on there. My advice would be to try and get some work, any work, in a school where you can build up positive references. There's absolutely no reason you can't work as a ta in primary if that's what you want to do. It's hard starting again after a bad experience but it can be done. Very best of luck.
     

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