Hi, I am a qualified teacher, but when I started a family I went into a Teaching Assistant role, which was less pressure. Then I did some private tuition (11+ entrance). However, when I tried to join an agency I found out that the Headteacher was giving me a bad reference. They would not tell me what was written, but did not accept me onto the agency. Now that I'm planning to get a 'proper' job again, I'm worried that they will contact her (as it was my last job) and she will ruin my chances of working in education again. I am being totally honest when I say that I was an excellent worker and there was nothing that I did in my role that would lead her to give me a bad reference. The issue is that I fell out with her over a PERSONAL issue. When I was pregnant there was chicken pox at the school and she did not tell me, despite the fact that she knew I had never had chicken pox. When I was eventually told a week later, and advised by my doctor to go home immediately, all she was bothered about was that she would not pay me any money for the period I was at home unable to work. She said that she did not need to tell me about the chicken pox, because there could be children at the school with AIDS that I did not know about. I pointed out that it can be caught by touching surfaces that an infected person has touched, is airborne, and highly contagious (unlike AIDS). I said I was upset that she had not told me about the chicken pox for some time, and could I trust her to tell me about future cases of it? But the discussion was not heated or anything. I did not care about whether I was paid or not. I also had no risk assessment for my pregnancy at the school (a legal requirement at the time). As this was a personal, not work-related issue, I was really surprised about the reference. She had a reputation for being a bit of a bully and there were bullying issues at the school. It has caused me to lose confidence about applying for jobs. I know that if I apply for another teaching job they will probably get a reference from her or call her for a chat. I have thought about leaving that job off my application completely, but then it would look like I have not been in a school environment for 8 years. How should I approach this? Any ideas? I don't want to see or talk to that Headteacher again.