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How important are references on job applications?

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by secretstar, Feb 13, 2012.

  1. I am feeling a bit stumped as to what to do re: references. I qualified from a 3 year teaching degree in summer 2010. Since then I have been working as a supply teacher through an agency whilst applying for full time jobs.
    I secured a post through the agency this time last year in a difficult school for the remainder of the academic year, so I was there for 18 weeks. I also worked in another difficult school via the agency for a term at the start of this year. By 'difficult schools', I mean that both were 1 form entries, in a poor area and most importantly I was not put on NQT induction in either school.
    I recently applied to work for another agency to maximise work opportunities and put both of the above schools down as references. I was later informed by the new agency that both schools gave back less than glowing references and implied that I'm a teacher who needs 'extra support'. Well considering I'm an NQT I thought I was entitled to support that I didn't get in either of those schools?! The agency told me that if I cannot get 2 decent references from elsewhere then they cannot take me on.

    I have asked my original agency to send them a reference, which just led to me getting a chat about 'loyalty' and them not sending it off and I've put my uni down for a reference. Uni have also not responded to the reference request and the relevant tutor never seems to be there when I call.
    My question is, what do I do about references now!? If I apply for teaching jobs independently, who do I put down? I would like to use the 2 schools I have worked at longer term but if both are giving me poor references then would I be guaranteeing that however well I do at interview, they will not employ me?
  2. For most jobs, references are only sought after interview. This would give you a chance to wow them and you could maybe mention the fact that, because you have only done supply work since qualifying, you haven't had any NQT induction. As you say, this explains your need for extra support.
    You could also consider making one of your references a personal reference. This might seem like cheating but it's perfectly acceptable. Consider yourself in a few years time- you've been in a permanent teaching post and you want to move to a different school. Your current headteacher would be one of your referees but the other can be from anyone else, except a relative, who can vouch for you.
  3. Moony

    Moony Lead commenter

    I first signed up to supply teaching after leaving my first teaching job and for the first agency I tried signing up to I was told that my reference was no good. So with the second agency I tried signing up with I gave them the school as a reference and I gave them as many PGCE references as I could, I think they ended up with about 4 references for me. One came back poor but based on the other three they took me on.
  4. Check with your union, but I'm fairly sure you can make an application under the data protection act to see what information they have on you.

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