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Previous head ignoring reference requests...

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by soulprovider, Dec 22, 2015.

  1. soulprovider

    soulprovider New commenter

    This is my first ever post here, after being a keen reader for the last decade.
    My dilemma is this: (apologies for its lengthiness, but I have a lot to get off my chest).
    I worked in a special school for almost 10 years, specialising in teaching SEBD students my specialist subject (which I wont identify due to my compromise agreement).
    After working under a grand total of 6 headteachers, 8 line managers, and essentially running my department alone for 8 years, my exceptional head-teacher retired, and was replaced by an inexperienced individual who took an immediate dislike to me. Two years prior to this head taking up their position, I was forced to take 15 days sick-leave, due to a confluence of hellish occurrences all happening within a short period of time (Bereavement of a close relative, another close relative whom I was a carer for succumbing to severe dementia, the loss of a child and my marriage breaking down...all within a month). After successful therapy, I continued to work with the passion that had lead my students to obtain excellent grades and felt very secure in my abilities as a teacher.
    However, once this new head started, it was immediately apparent that I was now persona non grata. Lessons that were previously rated Outstanding by Ofsted and the previous management teams were now classed as inadequate, and no written feedback was ever forthcoming. My CPD data was "lost" by my line manager, and the data I myself was in possession of was not accepted by the management...and when I queried this, I was placed on a "Informal Support Plan"...which contained a series of massively untrue statements that pretty much summed it up as a Capability and Competence" disciplinary. I was then sent to occupational health, where the professional I met with expressed puzzlement that I had been sent to see her, as my sickness record had not triggered a necessity for such a meeting, and this was communicated as such in the letter OH sent to my head. I was then sent to another OH meeting...at which point the nurse who I saw gave me a document that I had previously not been privy to, in which my head teacher had made a mass of wildly untrue allegations, accusing me of being a "danger to staff and students", and being "on the edge". Once again, the OH nurse wrote to the head stating that I was completely fine, other than being stressed due to the treatment I was receiving at work. At this point I went to my union and GP, and was signed off sick for "work stress". My OH nurse suggested I be referred for a psych evaluation from the LA's chief Psychiatrist (essentially to prove once and for all that the head was lying), which I attended, and was given a clean bill of health. His letter actually stated that my only issue was the treatment I had been receiving from my head. My union requested my PM data, which was never forthcoming...and after the libellous statements made about me by the head it was clear that I could no longer work in the same school (My head was always conveniently indisposed when meetings were arranged with my union rep, and would send an underling in their place).
    Eventually, I agreed to a settlement, which included a cash lump sum and an agreed reference...However, since I have applied for new positions I have discovered that the head has been ignoring all correspondence requesting a reference for me. I have contacted my union, but I so far am not getting any response.
    Does anyone have any advice? As I am exceptionally anxious about this and having trouble sleeping.
  2. mostkopf

    mostkopf New commenter

    Sorry to hear you are being treated like this by a Headmaster who should be more professional.
    I am sure that you will receive replies from many people more qualified to give advice than myself, but I couldn't read about your situation without replying.

    From the sound of it he is neglecting his part of the compromise agreement, which may have legal or certainly professional consequences. I assume you still have the details of the compromise agreement in writing, this may be legally binding (I'm not an expert, sorry) and your union should be able to fight your corner.

    It's probably not the best time of year to get a response out of anyone, so you may not get the answer you require from your union until next week. I know it will be difficult, but have confidence that things will improve in the new year and try not to let this dominate your Christmas (easy to say, but difficult to do!)

    The fact that references are being requested, obviously means that you are being considered for employment.
  3. ninenotes

    ninenotes Senior commenter

    I can only agree that you need the union to deal with this. Contact the person who dealt with your case.
  4. irs1054

    irs1054 Star commenter

    You need to keep in close consultation about this with your unions but it might be necessary to send the reference request to the Chair of Governors directly. Normally it is the Governors of the school who ultimately are responsible for the application of such an agreement and should be able to direct the Head to honour the it.
  5. soulprovider

    soulprovider New commenter

    Thank you all so much for your responses, they are much appreciated!
    The compromise agreement is a legal document, I still have the contract and a copy of the actual reference which the contract states must be forwarded to any potential employers.
    This is what is worrying me. I have a signed legal document stating that a good reference must be given, and it is being ignored. Based on the behaviour of the head during the 10 months it took to reach an agreement (the head would not turn up for meetings, would not forward requested documents to my union, etc) I am worried that this is going to be a very long wait for any resolution.
    Thank you for the advice about contacting the chair of governors, I will definitely look into that once I find out who they are (The entire governing body resigned in disgust when this head was appointed).
  6. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    If the school is not honouring a legal agreement, there might even be grounds for compensation for any loss you may suffer. Obviously, you would need legal advice if it came to this - I hope that your union would help.

    By the way, don't governors appoint Heads any more?
  7. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    That was my query too! You can normally find who the Chair of Governors is by looking on the school website. Send the letter to the school, marking it Private and Confidential - to be opened by addressee only. Hopefully that will prevent the Head's secretary from opening it.

    The advice from the posters above is spot on. Write to CoG, and harass your union about this. This is totally unacceptable, so you should get it sorted.

    Best wishes for a peaceful Christmastide


  8. rooney1

    rooney1 Occasional commenter

  9. soulprovider

    soulprovider New commenter

    At the time of the head's appointment, the governing body were overruled by the chief of the local authority, hence their resignation. It would seem that there were certain political motivations behind the LA's decision that we lowly teachers were not privy to.
  10. missnelms

    missnelms New commenter

    Yikes that sounds really awful. But I know someone else that had a similar situation. I really do hope that you find a resolution. It can't have been easy.

    Like the others have said I would seek legal advice on this! It can't be doing your self-esteem any good so getting it fixed will be a real relief.
    FrankWolley likes this.

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