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Job Offer Revoked After Reference!

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by TheDrunkenShrew, May 16, 2019.

  1. TheDrunkenShrew

    TheDrunkenShrew New commenter

    Good morning all,

    This is a post I never thought I would have to write. I thought I had already had my bad share of awful school experiences but apparently not. Obviously I have used an account that does not reflect my identity.

    I recently applied for a new position. The same position I have in my current school but in an environment with more opportunities for progression. Anyway. I was successful at interview and offered the job subject to the usual.

    As I saw no foreseeable issues with references and so as not to leave my current school in a bad position I supplied my reference. A day later I received confirmation of my resignation. 2 days after this I had contact from my new head asking me to contact him immediately following my references.

    I assumed this would be relating to a period of absence that was easily explained. And indeed this did arise and he was perfectly happy with the response.

    However the reference raised other issues. The Reference would not ultimately recommend me for the position and stated that I failed to meet deadlines and had weak dedication and commitment. I was utterly shocked.

    I have worked exceptionally hard in my 15months here and have never had any type of warning, support plan, etc because I had failed in my duties.

    Even during an extended absence I provided work for all class so that no one fell behind. My data is good and option numbers have increased three fold.

    I really don’t quite now how to keep calm. I have requested a copy of the reference from my Head but all that had been offered is a meeting as opposed to the actual document.

    Am I allowed the doc under GDPR?

    I will be contacting the union later today.
    FormosaRed and pepper5 like this.
  2. TheDrunkenShrew

    TheDrunkenShrew New commenter

    *supplied my resignation
    pepper5 likes this.
  3. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    What a horrible thing to happen. No, I don't think you are entitled to see your reference. It sounds to me that it may not meet the criteria of being "fair and accurate", meaning that in theory you could take action for any loss you suffer. However, you would need expert advice on this, which probably means going to your union. Am I right in assuming that your current school will not allow you to withdraw your resignation?

    Much as I think that people should give more than the minimum notice period, I do think it unwise to resign for a job that is conditional on references (or something else) until it is confirmed that all is in order.

    Here is some information about references. https://www.gov.uk/work-reference
  4. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Lead commenter

    No you are not able to access your reference under GDPR, nor can you get it via a SAR as it is exempt.

    My sympathies this is an awful thing to have happen.


    (I hate this about teaching that you resign from one position BEFORE confirmation of the new position. It leaves the possibility of being left in "limbo" like this. It does not happen in other "professions*')

    *I really don't think we are a profession anymore, sadly.
  5. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    Do you? I certainly wouldn't resign until the offer was unconditional. In other professions, references are usually taken after the decision to appoint is made, so offers are always subject to references. In teaching references are often taken prior to interview, so unconditional job offers can be made immediately. But, it seems, this is not always the case and if the offer is subject to anything, it is perfectly reasonable to delay resigning until it is unconditional. The only time this becomes complicated is if it is very close to the resignation deadline; clearly not the case here.
  6. Bedlam3

    Bedlam3 Star commenter

    What a horrible thing for you to have happen.
    You could ask your Union if a freedom of information request could get you a copy of the reference. If so they might be able to tell you the process for this.
    I would be fuming. It's a cruel and vindictive way to treat someone. I think you should take someone along to the meeting with you. I can't understand what the head thought they would gain from doing this.
    agathamorse and FormosaRed like this.
  7. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    OP - contact your union and take their advice. I'd certainly want to know if the reference is fair and accurate...

    Everyone else - DON'T resign until the new job is confirmed in writing...
  8. abacus1982

    abacus1982 Established commenter

    I am 99.99% sure you have every right to request to see your reference. It is about you. You would need to request it from the school which provided it.
    FormosaRed and pepper5 like this.
  9. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Star commenter

    GDPR closed a previous loophole in the DPA which would have allowed you to obtain a copy of the reference. However it also gave you enhanced rights if you suffer damage due to incorrect data processing (if incorrect information was sent). It is complicated so I'd talk to your union/solicitor about this.

    That said, considering what you've already been told by the other head, you could ask for a copy and they may send it to you anyway. Sorry you're having to go through this though.
    agathamorse likes this.
  10. SayItLikeItIs

    SayItLikeItIs Occasional commenter

    Your current Head accepted your resignation knowing that they had given you a reference that could well lead to the job you were going to being withdrawn. What a dirty trick. There's got to be some come-back from that.
  11. HolyMahogany

    HolyMahogany Senior commenter

    Just when I thought I had seen the worst in schools - there's a Head who is prepared to plumb new depths. Is it any wonder that HT's and SLT's are increasingly regarded with such contempt in our profession.
    I keep hearing that there are supposed to be some good ones out there - So if there are any HT's left with a shred of integrity lets hear you condemning this appalling behavior.
    Mrsmumbles, BetterNow, ATfan and 3 others like this.
  12. FormosaRed

    FormosaRed Occasional commenter

    I hope this injustice is sorted out for you. I have very little respect for SLT folk any more. Pond life.
    BetterNow likes this.
  13. Dorsetdreams

    Dorsetdreams Occasional commenter

    If I was a Head asked to give a reference for someone who had only been employed for a year or so, with a period of absence, and who's commitment and ability to meet deadlines I questioned, I doubt I'd stand in the way of them taking another job. There really must be a recruitment crisis.
  14. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    A meeting is an unusual offer if indeed you have purposefully been shafted as you describe. The method of landing you in it seems cowardly, not the actions of somebody who would want to say those things to your face.
    So either the HT is going to be honest and provide a revelation of which you had no clue, pertaining to the content of the reference, or they re going to ask you to stay.
    Why else would they be amenable to meeting with you? It's not something you'd expect from somebody who simply wishes the worst for you. Typically that would mean avoidance.
  15. Flowersinspring

    Flowersinspring Lead commenter

    Uurghhhh- horrible situation for you. It happened to me- I really thought, like you, that having several awful school experiences would be bad enough. Sadly, I was mistaken. Luckily, I swerved a bullet- the Head that revoked the offer is known to be an unpleasant sort.

    Anyway, your Head sounds like a piece of work. I hope you find a way through this and I hope better things come your way.
    agathamorse likes this.
  16. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Union. And I can never remember what the rules are, but if you can take a union rep (or at least someone impartial to take notes) to the meeting, do.
  17. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Given the prospective new school will have taken up at least two references, it could be that the less than glowing one isn't from your current school.
    I'm shocked! Shocked than any head these days writes anything so specific in a reference. It's highly unusual.
    It's only appalling if the head doesn't believe it to be true.
    Which is possibly a good thing...a chance for the head to explain their thinking and you to defend yourself. It could be that the new head has been less than honest.
    Flanks, Dorsetdreams and BetterNow like this.
  18. hhhh

    hhhh Lead commenter

    But even if OP does defend herself, it surely won't be possible for her to get that job now? Even if her HT admits the reference was unfair, how would she able to take the 'new' job?
    And surely it is appalling that the head hasn't spoken to her if he thought she was doing such a poor job that he needed to say bad things about her in a reference (even if it was her other referee, surely s/he should have warned OP when she requested a reference from them)?
  19. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Lead commenter


    GDPR closed the loophole, that allowed you to obtain it via a SAR, if IIRC
  20. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Lead commenter

    You would like to think so but on what grounds?

    On what grounds could they refuse you resignation? If the reference contains nothing but factual information then the Head would have done nothing wrong.

    This is not a comment on the OP's situation but a general observation.
    Pomza and CWadd like this.

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