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References after being off due to WRS help

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Honeychile74, Mar 21, 2017.

  1. Honeychile74

    Honeychile74 New commenter

    I have been teaching for nine years and in that time have never managed to secure a permanent position as I live in a very rural location where people tend to stay in their jobs until they retire. Despite this, I have managed to secure fairly prolonged periods of work during this period of time, mainly maternity and long-term sickness covers.
    I am currently employed on yet another maternity cover contract which is due to end in July, but I am currently signed off with WRS. Prior to my being signed off, I was exhibiting signs of stress, but did not realise this at the time. I was then observed and given an Inadequate. This resulted in my stress worsening and me being signed off for the past six weeks. Without going into too much detail, it is clear that my face does not fit in this school (I am a woman of colour in a very white area) and that some pupils haven't taken too kindly to my attempts to discipline them in lessons, as there have also been pupil complaints about me.

    I love teaching and have never once considered leaving the profession. But my experience at this school has really made me question whether I should stay in a job that I once loved and that I see has totally changed in its expectations of teachers in the past five years.
    I have the dilemma of being at the top of the main pay scale and only ever having taught for a living, so despite me wanting to leave teaching, I'm feeling a little trapped. I'm a divorced single mother and live in a rural area with very few jobs that pay over £15K p.a. so I don't have many other options but to apply for other teaching posts further afield.

    I have been applying for other teaching jobs, but unusually have not been receiving any responses. I can only surmise that my current school are either not giving me a reference, or giving me a bad one, as I am a very strong candidate on paper. I am not sure what to do about this, if at all there is anything I can do. I am returning to work next week and am naturally apprehensive about it.
    I am even more apprehensive about my future though. Will I ever be able to get another teaching post after being off with WRS? And what do I do about a possible poor reference?
  2. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    I would simply ask your current school if they have received any requests for references. They may have declined (as is their right) to furnish a reference and there's no reason why they shouldn't admit as much to you. If they indicate that they have provided a reference you may ask the school who requested it to show it to you. They must comply although they can redact names. A long-winded way of going about it, I know. Your existing school might just tell you (I know I would) but they don't have to whereas the prospective school must (Data Protection Act 1998).

    Will you be able to get a post? You may. Other people certainly have. Don't despair. Really. Don't.

    If the reference is inaccurate or unfair you can challenge it in court but schools have ways of conveying their feelings about staff without having to lie.

    Best wishes. Persevere.

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