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How do I tell my Head Teacher I am applying for a position at another school?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by ELAP90, Feb 23, 2017.

  1. ELAP90

    ELAP90 New commenter


    I have been at my current school for two years and I really like my time working there. However, I have always felt that my Head Teacher does not like me and during any meetings I have had with him I have felt like I was facing a firing squad and left feeling sure that he doesn't like me. I have been promoted whilst at the school but have seen an opportunity for a higher role in another school which is just too good to miss applying for. Of course I may not even get short listed for an interview but feel I should probably tell my head as they will definitely ask for references before interview.

    Should I tell him in person and ask him to be my reference or is it alright to do so over email? Normally, I'd just do it in person but my previous experiences one to one have left me a little terrified. I am also worried that he will hate me more and I won't have any chance of promotion there if things don't work out.

    Anyone know if there's a kind of courtesy rule about how to do this? I don't think he can say no to being a reference can he?
  2. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Star commenter

    I think it is courteous to ask in person. Surely at any point the expectation is that a developing practitioner should be looking for new challenges? If there are no performance or disciplinary issues there would be no reason not to provide a reference and whether he likes you on a personal level shouldn't be relevant.
  3. Jesmond12

    Jesmond12 Star commenter

    I always appreciate it when staff come and tell me and explain why. What I don't appreciate is a reference request turning up out of the blue, as happened recently to a member of staff that was on 3 weeks compassionate (unpaid) leave.
  4. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    There is no should, you must. Why wouldn't you.
  5. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    My ex Head insisted that you ' asked' if you could apply rather than his being ' told '!
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  6. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    You don't need permission to apply that's preposterous!

    However, if you need a reference probably a good idea to inform them because teaching jobs unlike most other jobs ask for references before interviews.
  7. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Feelings don't come into it. You knock on his door and tell him you are on the lookout for jobs and would he be so kind as to give you a reference.

    He says he wishes you well and you go out again.

    That is the protocol. That's professional behaviour. I would consider an email impolite. It wouldn't prevent me doing the right thing by that colleague but they wouldn't be getting any bonus points either.
  8. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Speak to his PA - explain you need to see him/her to discuss a job application you are making. Any PA worth their salt will be able to say - 'yes, you need to speak to him/her, I can fit you in at....(time)' or 'He's very busy today, if you drop him a line/email I'll tell him to expect it...' etc.
  9. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

  10. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    I find your idea that the head doesn't like you a bit weird. Especially from the basis of what you write.

    If you want to apply for said job, you have to tell the HT. it is only fair. Before you do I would have s look at the person spec for the job. Are you a realistic candidate?
    jlishman2158 likes this.
  11. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Out of interest, if you've already left the school, it's acceptable to notify your former head about planned job applications by email, isn't it? Just checking..
    jlishman2158 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  12. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    There are occasions when you can't inform the head.

    To use my own example I was offered a non-teaching job in the middle of the summer holidays following a bit of ad-hoc work that I'd done so had to inform the head when I returned in September. However, no references were required.
  13. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    If Theo were reading she'd point out you don't 'notify' your Head but politely 'request their permission to use them as a reference'. ;) Everything to make them in an amenable frame of mind to write you a good reference.
  14. streetno9

    streetno9 New commenter

    I've always informed my current Head each time I've looked for a job. It's a sign that other people value your skills and, hopefully, despite any personal issues the Head and yourself might have, they can be a professional and understand why you are doing what you are doing. It's a judgement call on your part; just remember they write your reference...
  15. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    If you've been promoted in the two years you've been there, the Head must have seen something in you worthy of advancement.

    So, go to your Head and tell him you are grateful for the experience and opportunities the role has given you, but you feel it appropriate now to look for more varied experience and you have seen a post that are interested in applying for, so you would be very grateful if he would act as a referee, should you be shortlisted.
  16. Skeoch

    Skeoch Lead commenter

    .....and you might say why the job is attracting you, and ask if the HT could please make mention of your excellent work with <insert the detail here> that you have been doing.
  17. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    Hi there HT/first name/sir

    Just a heads up to you that I am thinking of applying for advancement positions in other schools and that some of these may contact you for a reference.

  18. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    True, and this Head seems a bit pompous. But you do need permission to take time off for an interview, which is likely to be needed for another teaching job. If the Head is going to be picky about it, then asking for permission to apply may be the best course, even if it is not really needed.
    jlishman2158 and wanet like this.
  19. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter


    The HT does NOT have to provide a reference. He is perfectly entitled to decline. One more reason why you should be as courteous as you can.

    If he agrees to do so the reference must be fair and accurate.

    This could be something along the lines of: This teacher has never been subject to capability and has a good attendance record.

    That could be accurate and fair but I dare say its brevity would speak volumes.

    There is a huge difference between the minimum - how you ought to go about things - and the most desirable method - how you maximise things to your advantage.

    Nothing wrong with an email but I wouldn't do that. It's not the best way.
  20. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Ah. Quite. You are notified about evictions and sackings. Probably does sound a bit huffy. Not intended. Got to keep the Head happy!;)
    jlishman2158 likes this.

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