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references - new requirement?

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by tonymars, Oct 1, 2019.

  1. tonymars

    tonymars Established commenter

    Since the start of 2017. I've been a supply. Have found mainly long term work via agency A and mainly day to day via agency B. Last time I worked for A was May and the last time I worked for B was December 2018.

    After an extended "break" I am now looking for supply work again. Agency A, however, now appear to require a "character reference" from May to now, which I am struggling to provide.

    Agency B want me to go through the whole registration process again, including proof of address and two most recent references. I suppose one could be themselves and the other agency A, although I am not particularly comfortable with that.

    What to do? Should I be giving the names of schools I have worked "longer term" for? Or?

    Is this - the requirement to account for all of my time, paid or unpaid - a new necessity? It all feels very Big Brother to me.
    pepper5 likes this.
  2. tonymars

    tonymars Established commenter

    Maybe something to do with "safer recruitment"? Has anyone had a similar experience? The more I think about this, in the current era of fake news, disinformation and increasing state control, the more uneasy I become.
    pepper5 likes this.
  3. tonymars

    tonymars Established commenter

    So, I just re-contacted agency A, who said that I had to find someone who could comment on my "character", as it was between May and now. If I couldn't or they didn't consider this adequate, then they could no longer help me. Perhaps, they said, I have been dealing drugs. Or just maybe, they could get their audit team to look at my flight itinerary this summer (they sounded serious here). At pains to stress that this was a DFE requirement, not theirs.

    There are more and more references these days to an Orwellian direction of travel. Today this reality has punched me in the face.

    Am I over-reacting?

    All comments welcome.
    pepper5 likes this.
  4. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    I suspect it's far worse than your fears above. The harsh truth is
    "They are not bothered if you're on their books or not"
    If they were bothered then such problems would be ironed out quickly and they'd be ringing around schools/agencies to ensure that any compulsory safeguarding checks were done. But they're not. At the moment I must be the golden boy as all of my 6 agencies are ready to employ me at little notice.

    What about agencies C,D, E and F? Can you spare the half-day each on paperwork to sign up with a few more? If my guess above is correct then A and B won't provide any decent work and even if I'm wrong you'll have to put in the half-day of paperwork on them anyway.
    pepper5, tonymars and The-Gaffer like this.
  5. The-Gaffer

    The-Gaffer Occasional commenter

    @JohnJCazorla might be on to something here. When I did supply one of my agencies (B) had lapsed in terms of my last work for them.

    Out of the blue they contacted my about a fortnight gig. The paperwork was quickly rushed through on account of one agency (A) emailing the other agency to tell them I was currently working for them & stop hassling me. Agency B took that as an acceptable reference & sent me on a 2 week gig.

    But assuming John is wide of the mark then yes it’s a requirement on a safer recruitment level that your missing months be accounted for
    pepper5, JohnJCazorla and tonymars like this.
  6. tonymars

    tonymars Established commenter

    JJ, having calmed down a bit, your "harsh truth" sounds right. I MAY have been on quite a reasonable slice of the cake, relatively, with agency A, and they MAY be thinking if they can increase their cut, at my expense. So far there are no agencies C, D,E and F, as so far A and B have provided the cash when I needed it. Maybe I need to register with more.

    Basically, I suppose, two ways of looking at this.

    1. Just another, cosmetic, interference form the Dfe. Practical response might be to "play the game" - if I cannot provide a suitable "friend" to provide a "suitable" character reference, work out how to provide a false telephone number, name and e mail address. Reminds me a bit of the Ofsted comment: "not enough progress has been made..."

    2. Yet more evidence of the spreading power, or lust for power - to control all aspects of peoples' lives - of a dark state, which can no longer be bothered to even pretend .... Practical response .. ?

    Maybe I just need to stand back a bit. Maybe I need to stop listening to the "news" in this post-truth, fake news, world.

    Maybe this is not the right place for such thoughts.

    Thanks for responses so far. Any others with relevant experience?
    pepper5 and JohnJCazorla like this.
  7. Deirds

    Deirds Senior commenter


    I can confirm that the “3 month rule” goes back at least 5 years.

    The good news is if agencies are asking for character references the they aren’t being really awkward. (Most people can find 2 character as opposed to teaching references even after a lengthy career break).

    Some agencies wouldn’t go near me if I didn’t have a recent permanent school reference.

    I believe it’s to do with safeguarding. I tend to accept any job in July or September to avoid asking my friends for references again...
    pepper5 likes this.
  8. TheOracleAtDelphi

    TheOracleAtDelphi Occasional commenter

    I had a similar issue when I first registered with my current agency as I had a term unaccounted for. Their first suggestion was something from the doctor (which kinda says something in itself for their experiences and the likely history of some supply teachers!) or voluntary work. Neither of these applied to me but they were happy to accept a character reference from a friend (it probably helped that she had a professional job although it did complicate things because she didn't have a specific work email address) so as Deirds said they are probably trying to be helpful in offering this as an option.
    I'm kind of a bit surprised that this is an issue at this time of year as I thought education agencies tended to accept that you weren't going to be working for six weeks in the summer through no fault of your own. But I guess it depends when in May you last worked.
    pepper5 and tonymars like this.
  9. TheOracleAtDelphi

    TheOracleAtDelphi Occasional commenter

    P.S. If you've been abroad hence why not working perhaps you could email them lots and lots and lots of time-stamped photos... :)
    pepper5 and tonymars like this.
  10. tonymars

    tonymars Established commenter

    Thanks for the replies.

    Deirds. "3 month rule". What is this please?

    Maybe I need to step back, but I have been following "politics" closely for some some time and am now starting to see clearly what a post Brexit world might be like.
    pepper5 likes this.
  11. Deirds

    Deirds Senior commenter

    My agency has a rule that if you have not worked for them for 3 months you have to re-register. It is a right pain.

    The most likely time to fall foul of this rule is July-October due to Summer hols, September wellness, etc...

    So now I even accept day to day TA roles around this time to avoid asking for References.
    pepper5 likes this.
  12. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    I could well be and I agree that missing months have to be accounted for.
    But this accounting is no more than an employer (agency or school) stating, "John Cazorla worked at this location on these dates and there are no safeguarding issues". That can be done down the phone by the agency and as all agents spend their working day on the phone not even an issue in terms of time.
    pepper5 likes this.
  13. tonymars

    tonymars Established commenter

    Thanks for the replies. The difference this year is that I decided not to look for work in September as I anticipated it would be very quiet.

    Hopefully I will manage to pester a friend.


    I tend to accept any job in July or September to avoid asking my friends for references again...

    So now I even accept day to day TA roles around this time to avoid asking for References.

    I REALLY REALLY resent the fact that I may have to do this, or account for my time when I am not working.
    Let's say I worked, I saved, I didn't spend, then decided to spend half a year in a jungle, off grid. What ******* right does ANYONE have to demand that I account for my time?

    A "safeguarding" issue!! So, just because I have a couple of months NOT WORKING FOR THE MAN, I have to offer some proof that I have not turned into some sort of beast, a Mr Hyde!!

    A wake up call for me, perhaps overdue. Others certainly will have seen this a long time ago. Clowns rant about people taking back control, about freedom, but the reality is they want the exact opposite.
    JohnJCazorla and BertieBassett2 like this.
  14. tonymars

    tonymars Established commenter

    Update. Having received a character reference, agency A have also said they wanted proof of where I was this summer and for how long. I've managed to find a hostel invoice and a flight document, but seriously... If I had simply been at home, not going anywhere or doing anything, I'd be stuffed?!

    This is very, very odd.

    Has anyone had a similar experience?

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