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Lack of reference

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by rand0m1, Dec 16, 2015.

  1. rand0m1

    rand0m1 New commenter

    I'm hoping for some advice about a situation I have found myself in. I recently applied for a position in another school for a promotion and everything was looking positive from the informal visit and the application. They requested my references and then did not get called for interview. I enquired about my reference from my current employer with the school I had applied to as I know that my current employer has a bit of a reputation and habit of supplying negative references for people they don't want to leave. I fully expected to be told the reference was either bland or not very positive. The response I got was that my current employer had not sent a reference at all.

    I guess my question is, where do I stand with this? If my current employer is going to refuse/fail to provide a reference for any job I apply for then I'm clearly going to have questions raised about my application every time. I have asked the headteacher if there was a reason for not supplying a reference for me but am yet to hear back. Any advice would be greatly appreciated as I really never thought this would be an issue and have no idea how to deal with this scenario.
  2. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Oh dear!

    My only suggestion is that you include in your letter a short sentence to this effect: As my current Headteacher on occasion fails to provide references in a timely fashion, I am including a third referee, from my current school, whom you may wish to contact as well. Dr T Griff, Head of Department of Sanskrit, Greengates School, Cheltenham.

    Might work, might not if your Head does not allow other members of staff to write references without his approval. And yes, if they are writing in their professional capacity, he DOES have this right.

    And No, he does not HAVE to write a reference.

    Can your Head write a negative reference for you? Or refuse to write one? Can you see what was written...

    Best wishes

  3. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Before applying, had you asked your current headteacher if he would be willing to write you a reference (please)?
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  4. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Good point there! Very good point.

    I have got so used to assuming that by now everyone knows that this is the proper and polite way to proceed to avoid annoying your referees, that it hadn't crossed my mind . . .

    Do I have to tell my Head I am applying elsewhere?

    Best wishes

    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  5. rand0m1

    rand0m1 New commenter

    Yes, I had asked and was told they would supply a reference. I also know they received the reference request as they came and spoke to me to let me know.
  6. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    You need to get the Head's sec on your side, so that she hassles to get the reference written.

    Best wishes

  7. drek

    drek Star commenter

    Why are things like this so unprofessional? A heads PA and or HR 'directors' at a lot of schools of get paid more than full time teachers on MP6, , why can't it be part of their standards to write references indicating number of years worked and whether the person has a clear DBS or not, verified by the head if need be.

    Since the opinion about the character of a teacher is based on second hand opinion in the style of Chinese whispers, by a person who may or may not ever see them actually perform, and every teacher is surrounded by professionals in their department, they have access to at least three or 4 colleagues and HODs of dept to write out references which can be stamped and verified by the head teacher if need be.
    But OH NO. Only the headteacher whose main duty is now to manage school budgets, and use 'performance' judgements to get rid of staff they can replace at a lower cost, within 'policy', only such a person can write or not write a 'teacher' reference.
    Absolutely disgusting, that so many staff are disregarded and treated like dirt! What a wonderful world we live and work in!
    That is something the unions should be working to change! I've never understood why a person who has taught for a dozen years or more, has to rely on or even beg for a reference from someone with far less teaching pedigree, in fact their only talent might be in 'interpreting' and acting out the latest dfe changes to 'budget and policy'.
    Times have changed. In an era where unqualified staff are pronounced outstanding and promoted quickly up the ranks to hide their flaws in the classroom, why haven't reference collection systems changed to reflect this type of 'fraud'?
  8. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    The union's do work on the support of members. As a Union Rep I can (and do) stick my head over the parapet if I know a lot of members are behind me (below the parapet of course but they are there).

    I do have a sufficient rapport with my head to just ask her in this case but then she isn't the kind to indulge in this pettiness anyway.

    So really you're asking for an overall policy for all schools which academies and free schools were set up to undermine in the first place.

    Thank you for listening to my rant this far.
  9. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    In my very younger teaching days I had the exact same thing happen….

    I asked to meet the head and I politely but curtly enquired as to why no reference had been supplied, and conveyed how disappointed I was given that that was the reason I had seemingly not been called for interview and thus missed the chance of securing a post I was really relishing the chance to apply for. I think they were so shocked at my frankness that it startled them and they apologised red faced and assured me this would not happen again. It didn't.
    drek likes this.

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