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Poor reference from former school with a culture of bullying

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by lorelyse, Jun 28, 2017.

  1. lorelyse

    lorelyse New commenter

    I left my previous school after 5 weeks of teaching there due to the incessant culture of bullying from the leadership team - amongst other things, I was told by the deputy head that I would 'never make it as a teacher' if I carried on with my attitude. My 'attitude' was due to me finding it shocking that most teachers didn't leave the site until 7pm most days. But anyway...

    After leaving at the end of May, I registered with a supply agency. Or should I say, tried to - the school has only just now, today, bothered to respond to the reference request sent a month ago. And it wasn't good.

    This is in contrast to the two sparkling references I got from the two other schools I have taught in. This unbelievable headteacher thinks that she can write me a shoddy reference, in turn diminishing my chances of getting supply work, based on one month's work at her school? I can't believe it.

    What can I do? Can I ask the supply agency to disregard my history at that school, or are they obliged to include it in my registration?

  2. MacGuyver

    MacGuyver Occasional commenter

    Why wouldn't you ask?
    schoolsout4summer likes this.
  3. lorelyse

    lorelyse New commenter

    My supply agency is trying to find out from head office now about whether I need them as a reference but it could take a while. I needed to find out what my options were before then.
  4. tonymars

    tonymars Established commenter

    This is horrible lorelyse. Did you leave with a settlement agreement? I thought by law bad references can not be given. If you're in one contact your union. If you haven't signed a gagging clause I can understand if you want to let all and sundry know what ***** are at your previous school.
  5. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    Sorry, this is another of those false ideas which appear on these forums regularly. Bad references are allowed - it is untrue ones which are not. See https://www.gov.uk/work-reference .So if there is something untrue in the reference, then you may be able to take action - speak to your union if you think that this is the case.
    newromantic and knitone like this.
  6. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    They are obliged, for safeguarding reasons, to get a reference from your most recent school, but if it's just "not good" (as opposed to saying there are safeguarding issues or something else very serious), then they could choose to take it with a large pinch of salt. If you broke contract by just walking out of your last school, they might regard that as rather serious - how do they know you won't do the same when working on supply? But if you left by mutual agreement then that should be less of a problem - supply agencies probably know lots about dodgy schools and vindictive heads.

    Their reference has to be truthful. Bad references can be given, by mentioning only the negatives and not the positives, but they must be truthful. So they could say that you were late for school on one occasion, but happen not to mention that there was a very good reason, for instance.
  7. lorelyse

    lorelyse New commenter

    Thanks for the replies everyone. There were no safeguarding issues at all, and I carried out my full notice after handing in my resignation, regardless of how tempted I was to walk out I wouldn't have done that!
    I'll wait and see what the agency says (hopefully sooner rather than later!) and contact my union.

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