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Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by ACVX, May 23, 2019.

  1. ACVX

    ACVX New commenter

    I came back to work after being signed off for a few weeks because of WRS.
    I am looking for a new job - this school has known I was leaving since before Christmas.
    The headteacher at this school has said she's happy for me not to put her as a referee on applications, with implication that her reference might not be good (I have a few instances of lateness due to traffic, but she seemed to suggest it would be worse than that). Union thinks she won't agree to an agreed reference.
    The circumstances that led to WRS mean I'm not really happy putting my HOD. There are a couple of members of staff (including the librarian) who I do get on well with.
    I have two questions:
    First, who do you suggest I put on job applications? Two people from my previous job?
    Secondly, I recently missed out on a job for which my headteacher and HOD were the referees (before the discussion about being happy not to put her as a referee - when I told her about this interview, she allowed me to go on the condition she or my HOD were one of the referees). The feedback from this interview was absolutely excellent. Only one small thing they gave to improve on. I got the result two days after the interview, so they could have requested references. Can I ask if they did, and if so, how would I phrase it?
  2. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    If you omit a reference from this school, it will be questioned. But if you were interviewed with a reference from this school, then it's a puzzle.

    I'm surprised your HT is so.open about refusing a reference. Clearly she's not overly bothered about safeguarding. Talk to your Union again.
  3. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Good advice there from CWadd. Several years ago I asked a colleague to be a reference and she pointed out that for safeguarding reasons I needed to use the Head as first reference or else suspicions might be aroused as to why I wasn't using them.

    Although most Heads wouldn't refuse a reference, I do believe they are allowed not to, so yes you do need some expert advice.
    jlishman2158 likes this.
  4. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    You can ask! And they can refuse. Depends how well they know their GDPR!

    But the HT doesn't have to provide a reference. No employer does. I might ask again though. "When I asked you for a reference I wasn't asking for a glowing report. Just bare confirmation of the dates of my employment and the fact that I haven't given rise to any safeguarding concerns. Would you be prepared to do that, please? Just that. No more."

    It will be something of a sticking point if you can't convince her to do that.
  5. bizent

    bizent Star commenter

    Speaking from recent experience....I didn’t put my last employer down as a referee.
    I was invited to an interview and beforehand I spoke to the HR department at the school and filled them in.
    I was offered the job and I told the DH the same as I had told the HR manager. The offer was still on the table. They will need to ask your previous employer “did they work here from this date to this date and can you confirm there were no safeguarding concerns”
    They don’t have all the power they like to think they have some of these head teachers.
  6. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    But that is a reference! Your experience confirms the advice given in this and other threads, that you must have a reference from the headteacher of your most recent school.
  7. bizent

    bizent Star commenter

    Maybe the OP was referring to being threatened with a “bad reference” e.g. would you employ this person again? If no, why?
  8. digoryvenn

    digoryvenn Lead commenter

    Very strange!
    You have n choice but to put your previous employer as a referee. It says so on the application form and I know because I have filled in 31 of them!! I wish I didn't have to use my previous employer but everyone has to!!

    Maybe it is for a job outside of teaching where rules may be different!
  9. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

  10. ACVX

    ACVX New commenter

    Thank you for all the answers.
    I wasn't aware I actually had to put my headteacher. I will talk to the union again.
    Does anyone think I should ask the school I interviewed at if they asked for references, and if that affected their decision?
    jlishman2158 likes this.
  11. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    You can ask. There's a 95% chance you'll get a "sorry, but no".
    jlishman2158 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  12. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Safer Recruitment Training teaches that it must always be from the headteacher. Because it's a reference on behalf of the employer and only the head is authorised to do that. Anyone else in the school is only able to provide a personal reference. And because the reference question about safeguarding concerns can only be answered by the head. Such allegations should be kept confidential so how could anyone other than the head confirm to another employer that there had never been any safeguarding concerns? Other staff, even your HoD/line manager, wouldn't necessarily know about them.
  13. Over_the_hill

    Over_the_hill Star commenter

    For my current job I didn’t put my previous bully Head as a referee. On Union advice, the HR Manager for the Trust did mine.
    agathamorse likes this.
  14. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    Is there any milage in thinking about the Chair of Governors as a "agreed reference" referee? S/He may not really know you, but could confirm dates when you were employed and no safeguarding issues? A covering note with your application would be necessary. The union might be able to propose this.
    I don't know if this would satisfy the requirement fora referee from you previous school, but it might be a way forward?
  15. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    As a Chair of Governors myself I would decline any request of that sort and refer the teacher to the head for any reference. If I were to receive a reference from the Chair but not from the head I'd find it odd.
  16. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    Ah, @Rott Weiler, I did wonder what the reaction might be from a CoG. Not a solution for the OP then. Drat.
    gingerhobo48 likes this.
  17. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    One strategy might be to discuss with your head, as GDW suggests, whether they can provide the minimal reference needed for safeguarding, on the understanding that you will give two other substantive referees. Then give the school three referees, either with a note or a discussion (as with bizent) to explain that your current head would prefer to give only a minimal reference, hence the extra referee. They may well read into that that there have been issues, but they also have two (hopefully) good references to weigh against that.
  18. starlightexpress

    starlightexpress Occasional commenter

    Most organisations I’ve been in insist it’s the Head who provides all references on behalf of the organisation. If another colleague receives a request, they are asked to refer it to the Head. The Head might delegate the writing of the reference however always has oversight and final say on it. This will be linked to safeguarding and also overview view on practice and professionalism. I’ve made it clear to staff that they write as a personal referee and not on behalf of the school. Most selection panels would insist on referee 1 to be the Head of current or most recent employment. Chairs or Deputies can be referee 2. If you know the Head reference might bring issues, then request an agreed reference. A Head would be needing to consider carefully how to phrase things on different forms, if it’s a tricky or risky reference to write. It’s hard for a Head as you’ve got to be honest and factual yet equally can face action if a reference stops someone getting a job. My previous boss said that he just confirms the key safeguarding and employment date questions and never gives narrative. He said he wants no risk ever around reference writing and applies this approach to all requests he received. This was his stance consistently over anything in writing- to avoid risk. I guess it’s more the approach they do in industry. This was hard hitting to hear for me as I wanted my current employer to have the detailed glowing reference, that ironically my former boss needed to make the decision around my appointment! I did worry that it might imply issues but maybe it’s becoming the norm as what’s a satisfactory reference now? One meeting safer recruitment.
  19. CalF123

    CalF123 New commenter

    I’m a member of SMT at a free school and we won’t give references other than ‘x worked here between x and x in x position’. It’s far too time consuming and difficult otherwise.
  20. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    You may find that you get a large number of dissatisfied staff who fail to get jobs as a result of this policy...o_O

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