1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Job withdrawn HELP

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by laylala, Nov 18, 2018.

  1. laylala

    laylala New commenter


    My mum has been through a difficult time, financially and personally, over the years.

    She was jobless for a while and so managed to complete a TA course at a local college.

    She has since only been able to get a volunteering role in a school for 2 years, which went well. The school, however, never had any vacancies so she could not get paid work there.

    After another year of being unpaid for work, my mum applied to plenty of TA roles. She finally got a job offer (HURRAH) in an area near family and a full time position. She enrolled my younger sister to the same school, got the place, bought uniform and everything else. My mum also tried to secure a home closer to this school. After 2 weeks of believing my young sister and my mum would both be starting at this school (on my mum's birthday btw!) my mum receives a phone call from the school. The headteacher explained that she got a 'less than good reference' from her college tutor, suggesting that she could not make 'good relationships' and would not be suitable for the role.

    We're all fuming about this. My mum had no clue her college tutor would, or could, leave such a reference. She enjoyed her course thoroughly, managed to pass all her coursework and was always on time, engaging in activities etc etc. She was never told that she had somehow failed in making good relationships, in fact, she felt rather the opposite. She felt she had made good relationships with course members, students and fellow teachers.

    Is it ok for a college tutor to leave such a reference that results in someone losing a job? Sacrificing so many other things? It seems SO unprofessional of the college tutor to jeopardise someone's chance of getting a job. My mum is distraught and doesn't know what to do next as this is the most recent 'professional' that she can use for a reference. She's panicking, thinking that no one will give her a job in teaching now.

    Tips or support anyone?

    Also, if any TA full time jobs are available in Hillingdon/ Ealing area, we'd be truly grateful!!!!!!!!!

    Thanks a bunch.

    Layla x
  2. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    I am sorry that this has happened to your mother, @laylala. The school have given her an excuse for withdrawing its offer of employment, which is almost certainly different to the reason for doing so. In the increasingly nepotistic, almost incestuous, world of schools, the reason is likely to be that someone's friend, daughter, wife, etc. wanted the job.

    I live in Hillingdon, and paid jobs in education are like hen's teeth.
    agathamorse and catbefriender like this.
  3. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    References have to be accurate and unless your mother can find some 'proof' this one is false, there is little she can do. She could challenge it, but the chance of success is small.

    For her next application, she should consider not using the college tutor as a referee. The head of the school where she volunteers and another member of staff from there (SENCO?) would be perfectly fine.
    agathamorse and phlogiston like this.
  4. phatsals

    phatsals Senior commenter

    She should contact the tutor concerned for clarification on the reference. As she has been working in a school for 2 years, all be it on a voluntary basis, she can ask them to be her referee's in future. It is perfectly acceptable to have more than 1 referee from the same establishment.
    agathamorse and phlogiston like this.
  5. MissMultitask

    MissMultitask New commenter

    Layla, so sorry your mother has been disappointed in her job application.
    Some points to consider
    Did she approach her old tutor first for a reference- as it is nigh on 3 years since she did the course-the tutor has many other students Possibility she could have even left, was the reference written by her old tutor?
    Could the tutor even have got your motherconfused with another student from 3 years ago who did have some- shall we say 'issues'? Sometimes it is hard to recall students names from a last academic year, never mind 3 years ago. If it is a large college with a large cohort -well....
    She would have had to be signed off in her practice work log re communication and relationships to pass the course.
    It is eiquette- call me old fashioned- to just drop a quick email first to approach refeerees as a matter of courtesy. This can help to jog their memory and also sometimes a more positive reference.I know I have gone the extra mile when I have been approached first, and as an ex tutor you naturally want your students to do well.
    Not sure how valid a reference is from 3 years ago though- surely the school where your mother volunteered could provide her with one. After all they were happy to accept her services for 'free' for the past two years.
    Are jobs so hard to come by in your area then?? agency work??? best of luck
  6. MissMultitask

    MissMultitask New commenter

    Sorrry meant to type etiquette!! oh yes and spell correctly too har har
    phlogiston likes this.
  7. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    What a terrible story. I'm not sure I'd actually want my daughter to attend, given the circumstances. If she does go there the temptation to become the parent from hell would be very strong ;)

    The old method of enjoying teachers was to shortlist on the strength of applications and references, which avoids unkind surprises like this. Maybe it is a better method.

    BTW she should check the original job offer was 'subject to suitable references'. If they didn't say so she can sue for breach of contract.
  8. catbefriender

    catbefriender Lead commenter

    I agree with everyone, cut out the college tutor and try to get references from the school you volunteered in. Most offers of unpaid work I've been offered in schools (and turned down) have been for the promise of an up to date reference. So tell your mum to use the school she volunteered in for both references, as stated above the HT and perhaps a class teacher she worked with, in future and keep in touch with them in the hope that a paid vacancy comes up.
  9. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    I doubt if this is anything other than the school reacting to a poor reference. If your mother were able to see a copy (has she asked the school she applied to?) she might be able to argue that it was not 'fair and accurate'. If she is a member of a union (and if she wants to work in the classroom she should be!) they may be able to help.

    For the future, the advice given by others to get references from elsewhere seems to be sensible.
  10. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    As insulting as being offered unpaid work as a 'chance to put something back'. I have had similar offers 'kick-start' my career by giving schools a term's work of 70+ hours a week for nothing, in exchange for an anodyne reference.:mad:
    catbefriender likes this.
  11. catbefriender

    catbefriender Lead commenter

    Sadly everyone I know who's worked voluntary have never been offered anything substantial in the school they volunteered in. One of my friends worked for 3 days for nothing for an academic year and was delighted when the HT said they were willing to pay her but broken hearted when she found out it was only for ONE day and he expected her to do the other two for free forever. When she parted, they were upset with her and her reference wasn't all that.:(

    Schools have got to stop relying on volunteers and start paying people proper wages to do the jobs they need them to do.
    agathamorse and FrankWolley like this.
  12. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    The old adage is true; 'nobody will pay you for what you will do for free'. I have known someone who fell into the trap of doing voluntary work tempted by the carrot of a reference. When she asked the school to keep its end of the bargain, it replied that it was not its policy to give references to volunteers!
  13. catbefriender

    catbefriender Lead commenter

    Roger, remember the Teach Again scheme I told you about where unemployed teachers PAY £600 to work for nothing for six months in a school to get up to date experience and a reference? Would absolutely LOVE to know how that worked out for the teachers who invested in it and whether it lead to paid employment. I bet it didn't. I bet the school took them on, worked them hard, allowed them access to their brilliant o_Oin house CPD, wrote a neutral reference and parted ways.

    I rang a few agencies re the value of a reference gained from voluntary work and was told by all three that employers do not perceive them well. The question is always, if the teacher was so great, why didn't the school formally employ them?

    Edit: Just Googled the Teach Again programme and the cost of working for free is now £220 regardless of how long the placement is.

    Hooray, Teaching for free has now become cheaper.:)o_O:rolleyes:

    Flanks and agathamorse like this.
  14. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    @catbefriender: As you say, a reference from an unpaid job could work against, you for the reason your stated; "If you are so good, why did the school not give you a job?"

    Some of these 'name, rank, and number' references come straight from a word bank. giving nothing more than your name, dates of employment, and a statement that you were not subject to disciplinary proceedings. A friend, who got managed out of his job after many years of service for the usual reasons, showed me the reference his school had given him. It was only a few lines long, and did not even mention that he had worked as a teacher, or what he had taught.

    Spot on! 'Pay-to-work' schemes, such as 'Teach Again' are despicable. Teach Again cannot have been the money-spinner it was hoped, if the fee has been reduced to a third of the original.
    agathamorse likes this.
  15. catbefriender

    catbefriender Lead commenter

    Just checked the website and it is still £600 to work for free for the likes of you and me.:(

    The £220 for gaining work experience is if you are not a qualified teacher with experience. So it's still gonna cost us £600 but if you are on Jobseekers allowance, the Jobcentre may pay the fee as it is deemed 'proper training.' So they are still at it and I notice they are now advertising jobs on their websites, which people not registered on the scheme can not view. The advertised jobs are possibly for 'opportunities' to work for nothing with the possibility of paid employment for the right candidates, whoever they may be.:rolleyes:
    agathamorse likes this.
  16. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    A reference cannot be misleading, unfair or inaccurate. But, depending on the wording, they can be hard to challenge.

    How are you going to contest something as vague as "difficulty in making relationships with her fellow-students"? If that's even what it said. It may have been couched in far less specific terms.

    And she'd probably need legal advice and so on and so forth.

    Did she approach the tutor first? Did she seek the tutor's permission to name her as a referee?

    But too late now. All she can do is ensure that the next referees she cites will provide a favourable reference.
  17. install

    install Star commenter

    She needs to request a copy of the reference immediately from the potential employer .

    Then see if what they say is true :cool:
    agathamorse likes this.
  18. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    @catbefriender: Words fail me as to quite how duplicitous these schemes are. 'Pay to join the site so you can see further opportunities to pay to work' :mad:

    The RTT and TSST programmes are no better. I have just been told that I have been 'de=registered from these schemes, as I had not taken up any of the free courses I was not offered. Plenty of the ones for which you have to pay, which I did refuse.
    agathamorse likes this.
  19. catbefriender

    catbefriender Lead commenter

    Sorry to hear this.
  20. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    Thank you, Cat. I am not surprised, I had assumed the whole thing was a Potemkin Village,

Share This Page