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References for supply - currently stuck...

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by blueturtle23, Oct 12, 2019.

  1. blueturtle23

    blueturtle23 New commenter

    Hi all,
    I recently left my school at the end of September after struggles with anxiety and depression. I’m glad to be out of there and looking towards my future! I’m looking at supply roles and wanted to know what I am entitled to in terms of references. I had only been at the school I recently left for under a month, so they won’t be able to give me a reference.
    I am finding my previous school to be quite slow with giving a reference and I’ve been waiting nearly three weeks for a response from the HT. The supply agency says it’s has to be from them to join their agency unfortunately and can’t be someone else senior. My union says there’s no obligation for them to provide a reference, so I don’t know what to do next. I’ve contacted them multiple times and via phone, email and texting personal number with no response - and I also don’t want to keep pestering in case that winds them up! Not sure what my next step should be really. Should I look for another agency who will be more flexible and accept a reference from an ex-colleague? Any other ideas? Thank you in advance, you brilliant people!
  2. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Sometimes when you ask for a reference, a letter has more impact. You could write a letter to the HT and explain that you understand that they may be very busy with the new academic year, but you would be extremely grateful if they could write a short reference for you and send it to the agency as you need work.

    Sometimes, PA's will open the post, see the letter, and remind the HT.

    You could try and find another agency that would accept references from a Head of Department or other colleague. It wouldn't hurt as you will need to be registered with more than one agency to ensure you have a steady stream of work.
    JohnJCazorla likes this.
  3. starlightexpress

    starlightexpress Occasional commenter

    When contacting them maybe indicate what’s happened. They might think you had secured role you’ll stay in and the reference role was done and dusted. They might also worry and wonder what happened for you to be looking for supply now. Perhaps too reassure that it won’t be a case of repeat references requests- they take a while to write.
    pepper5 likes this.
  4. blue451

    blue451 Lead commenter

    Time was a HT could prepare a reference for a leaving teacher and then admin could send out whenever a request was received for that teacher. Now (in my experience) some agencies want references doing on their own uniquely formatted forms which inevitably takes more time. It's almost as though they're incapable of understanding issues relating to workload.
  5. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    They, as your most recent employer, will need to give you a reference. Any supply agency that accepts you without it are not worth working for. A reference need only say that you are who you say you are, you worked for them for these dates and there were no safeguarding or capability concerns.
    Your agency should be chasing the reference, not you. Again, an agency that accepts you with a reference you pass on to them, rather than the employer, isn't one worth working for.

    I'd strongly recommend you find a more reputable agency and give them the contact details for the two headteachers and leave them to sort it out.
  6. install

    install Star commenter

    Find another agency and even use several for now.

    You might also find a part-time job in anything at all. Even a Saturday job for a couple of hours. And use that as one reference if need be.
    agathamorse and pepper5 like this.
  7. phatsals

    phatsals Established commenter

    You could also volunteer in a school and ask them to give you a reference.
    DexterDexter, install and pepper5 like this.
  8. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    A couple of questions-
    there is a school at which you worked for just a few weeks and there is a "previous school",correct?
    Your agency are asking for a reference from this previous school?
    That in itself is odd, because the more conventional thing would be to ask for a reference from your last school. The one where you did not stay long.
    You gloss over the potential for a reference from them. Why? Just because your stint there was curtailed in an unforseeable way does not mean that you should write off the experience as unreferenceable. What I'm trying to ask is-have you made your agency aware of this shorter spell of work?
    It's just a feeling I got from your post, that you may have simply omitted it from your CV, whereas my advice is don't do this. It is in fact a dismissable offence if, in the future you secure work and this shorter spell has not been given and it is then found out to be true.You will be regarded as dishonest. And can be asked to leave. And thenceforth will really be in doo doo in terms of a reference.
    Sorry, I might have this wrong, just a sixth sense between the lines assumption from your post.

    If I am wrong, another piece of advice is to give the HT's name Care Of HR manager as your referee. The HR manager will field reference requests with efficiency, and it will be legitimately signed off by your HT. You might be able to "hassle" the HR manager on the phone more than you could actually reach the HT.
    It has to be done by somebody who can access your DBS clearance history or referrals, which is why you cannot get a less senior ex colleague to do it.
  9. thejudgesscoresarein

    thejudgesscoresarein Occasional commenter

    Bear in mind that the HT might be busy, so is there another colleague that you could ask? DHT, AHT or a middle Leader? As a HT myself, I complete most of the reference requests I receive, however, if I am busy, then I delegate to my Deputy Headteacher to complete.
    I don’t know why they haven’t at least responded or forwarded your request on- it’s basic courteousness- I always see it as polite and professional to respond swiftly- you could be holding up someone from starting a new job and could be causing them to be ‘loosing income’
    agathamorse likes this.

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