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Reference query

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by blueskies31, Feb 11, 2016.

  1. blueskies31

    blueskies31 Occasional commenter

    Hi all,

    I've decided to have one last bash at a new teaching post in a school I know has an excellent reputation.

    The school I am currently working in on a temporary contract, the Head is off on long term sick but the SENCo is my line manager. Who do I put down on the application form as my referee? I've only met the Head once so he doesn't know me any way. I'm concerned if I put the Headteacher down, his post/emails may not be opened. Is it ok to put the SENCo down as my referee?

    Thanks
     
  2. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    .

    Yes, the acting HT and the Senco, but explain briefly why it isn't possible to give the Head.

    Have you read all the applications advice articles? Go down to Jobseekers and enquire there if not.

    Best wishes

    .
     
  3. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    .
    If head is long term sick someone must be the Acting Headteacher. Probably they are the person to put - almost every school will expect you to put as first reference the head of your current school. Ask the Acting Head.

    If head is off long term sick I'm sure his/her post and emails are being opened!
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  4. blueskies31

    blueskies31 Occasional commenter

    Thanks both of you. I'll explain in my covering letter why I haven't named the Head. I'll also supply the name of the Deputy (who is unofficially acting head) but she doesn't know me either.
     
  5. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    .

    She will ask someone else to write it then!

    Best wishes

    .
     
  6. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    I once had a reference from someone I'd never met; he'd taken over as head since I worked at the school, and as it was the last school I'd worked in, that was who I needed to use. I e-mailed him politely to ask beforehand, and he readily agreed.
     
  7. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    .
    Heads often write references for people they barely know. It's not a problem for the head because they are writing the reference on behalf of the school as an institution, not as a personal reference. They will ask the teacher's line manager to draft it, and read the teacher's staff file.

    I think OP is creating a problem for themself by not having their acting head (the deputy head) as their referee. The SENCo will not be able to answer the questions that will be asked in the reference request - has the teacher ever been subject to any disciplinary allegations?, has the teacher ever been subject to capability? etc. Only the acting head can answer those by consulting the staff file. (BTW the deputy head isn't the "unofficial" acting head , they're the official acting head if the head is absent). Why not go and see the deputy head and explain your concern about who to quote as a reference and make sure they are happy to be named? You're only on a temporary contract so they'll know you are looking for jobs.
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    Last edited: Feb 12, 2016
    notsonorthernlass and Jamietzu like this.
  8. jago123

    jago123 Established commenter

    The DHT is the unofficial acting HT?- No, one of the primary roles of the DHT is to step up as Acting Headteacher when required, therefore you should name them as your 1st reference. They will then consult your line manager if they do not know you. Alarm bells will ring if you haven't listed your Head or Deputy and it will portray that you don't have a strong working relationship with them!
     
    Rott Weiler likes this.
  9. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

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    ... or worse! That you have something to hide.
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    .
     
  10. blueskies31

    blueskies31 Occasional commenter

    Nope, nothing at all to hide. We were told that the DHT was not acting up (due to reasons I can't go into here) but it has all changed today and she is now acting HT. I'll put her down as my referee and I'm assuming she'll pass it to my line manager to complete.
     
  11. install

    install Star commenter

    In this situation it is your decision. It depends on each application.


    Questions :


    1 Does the Head know you by name?
    2 Do they talk to you ever?
    3 Have they observed you or are they aware of your input?
    4 Is your Head distant with you?


    I wouldn't put the Head down or the Acting Head down for some -unless it states that it must be your head - and explain why in brackets.
     
  12. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    The first time I applied for a job during my GTP year, I didn't put down the Head as a reference because I didn't know you had to. The other school contacted the Head anyway, and I was summoned to see her. Fortunately, she took it very well when I explained, and offered me a job for the next year. So, as other have said, you should put down the acting HT, as you said you are going to, who will then consult the p0eople you do know.
     
  13. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    It won't say that it has to be the Head, most probably, because the Statutory Guidance says so.

    Therefore a school will assume that you know this and may well not bother to put it on their details.

    Best wishes

    .
     
  14. install

    install Star commenter

    I don't agree with some of the comments written here. On the whole I would put the Head down BUT...

    If you explain why you have not used the Head in brackets then that is acceptable - in my experience. Schools that don't state it should be the Head cannot assume that you will put the Head down.

    If your Head does not know you, why put them down? Schools in my experience can read between the lines - your Head may have never ever have met you or know you so why would you allow them to write a reference?

    Indeed who you choose for a referee says alot about you too...
     
  15. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    "If your Head does not know you, why put them down? Schools in my experience can read between the lines - your Head may have never ever have met you or know you so why would you allow them to write a reference?"

    Because they're the one who can open your personnel file and see all the contents. But it's perhaps no bad idea to give an extra referee, with an explanation of why.
     
  16. install

    install Star commenter

    Good point BUT your full file isn't what goes on a reference. Otherwise your whole file may as well be sent off...which would save a lot of hassle. In fact many members of SLT in schools have access to your file not just the Head.

    Some Heads are out of schools alot and are extremely hard to get hold of. Others are far more approachable.

    Remember providing 'suitable' referees is also in the detail and thereby up to each candidate to do so ..

    If the school then chooses to phone the Head then fine.
     
  17. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

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    When you are asked to give an employment reference it's expected to be from your current employer, not from a friend that you happen to work with, even if that person is eg your line manager. Normally the head is the only person authorised by the governors to give references on behalf of the employer. Highly unlikely in OP's case that the SENCO had authority to give references on behalf of the school, it would just b a personal reference, not an employment reference. A personal reference in addition to the school's formal reference is usually acceptable, but not instead of the official reference on behalf of the employer.
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  18. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    When in SLT - and afterwards in fact - I did act as a referee for a (small) number of colleagues & former colleagues. I always made it clear on what grounds I was writing, and never (of course) claimed to be writing on behalf of an institution. I never asked why they asked me... Sometimes, I suspect, it was due to some schools demanding 3 referees, at other times because the HT who knew them had left (along with all the school SLT!)
     
  19. install

    install Star commenter

    Yes - there are exceptions to the norm and if a school really wants to, they will phone up for the Head ...

    All references should go on the school file anyway so there is no question of friends doing references.
     
  20. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

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    Indeed.

    It will say a lot about you if you do not put the Head, and have as your excuse that the Head does not know you . . .

    Best wishes

    .
     

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