Dear Theo, I am returning to teaching after a break of 8 years. I am in the process of registering with a local supply agency and I also volunteer at my children's school. However I am struggling to provide recent teaching references for the agency. I have no problem in supplying them with personal references and did ask the head at the school where I volunteer if she would give me a reference. She told me that she was unable to give references to volunteer staff and wasn't very helpful (she has since moved on!) My last permanent post was in 2002 and the agency have said that the LEA reference is too old. I have tried 3 times to get onto the Return to Teaching course and each time they have been full!!! I am thoroughly frustrated as it seems to be so difficult to return to teaching!!! I feel as if I will never be able to go back!! What advice can you give me as I am struggling to even get on a supply list, all because of not having recent teaching references or even work references for that matter. How do other returners 'return'??? I had to leave teaching to care for my disabled son but am now able to go back part-time. It's like banging your head against a brick wall! Please help, thanks.