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Strange minimal reference

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by TCSC47, Jan 18, 2016.

  1. TCSC47

    TCSC47 Star commenter

    A young friend of mine has just been offered a new job and handed in her notice last week at her present job. However her new school has just informed her that her present school has simply sent a reference saying only that "she worked there"! and that this isn't good enough.

    My young friend has had absolutely no problems with her school and thought she was leaving on good terms.

    She will be talking to her present school tomorrow but is in quite a state of upset tonight to say the least!

    Cockup -- conspiracy -- or what? I really wish these bean counters stopped and thought about the people involved.

    Any suggestions?
  2. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    I hope your friend is in a union. Seems more & more reasons to join one these days.
    grumpydogwoman and Yoda- like this.
  3. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    The school offering the job has clearly done so before seeking references, which is in contradiction of the guidance issued years ago by DfE.
  4. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    Did she ask permission from the person at her present job to list him/her as a referee?
  5. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    In ye olden days, before, as @Middlemarch says, the statutory guidance was to ask for references before interview, or at the latest before offering, some LEAs had a rule that if a reference was requested after a job was offered, it could only be the minimal factual: Theo Griff has been employed in this school as a teacher of astrophysics since September 2008.

    A Head does not actually have to give a reference at all, if they don't wish to, although it is generally accepted that they will.

    Can your Head write a negative reference for you? Or refuse to write one? Can you see what was written...

    Good point by @Kartoshka .

    Do I have to tell my Head I am applying elsewhere?

    One explanation may be that they started to write the reference, and pulled out the dates, then were distracted and just sent it off like that. It might be tactical for your friend to suggest that they hadn't finished writing the reference when they sent it off, rather than that they refused to.

    The school thinks that it isn't full enough, and were wondering if something more could be included, for their records?

    I hope it had the CP statement in it, at the very least.

    Best wishes

  6. TCSC47

    TCSC47 Star commenter

    She is.
    FrankWolley likes this.
  7. TCSC47

    TCSC47 Star commenter

    She did.
  8. TCSC47

    TCSC47 Star commenter

    The school offering the job is an academy. Does that make any difference?
  9. TCSC47

    TCSC47 Star commenter

    It is clearly a cockup and we don't understand why yet.
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  10. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Possibly, in that increasing numbers of academies are run by people without the experience and knowledge to do the most basic jobs (recruitment, for example) properly.
    wanet and grumpydogwoman like this.
  11. Jolly_Roger1

    Jolly_Roger1 Star commenter

    Our Academic Head fired off what he called 'name, rank and number' references, which contained nothing more than how long you had been at the school, your role there (maybe with your subject, if he was feeling generous) and whether your conduct had 'attracted any official sanction'. Try getting another job with one of these!
  12. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Sick. Disrespectful. Wrong. :mad:
  13. applecrumblebumble

    applecrumblebumble Lead commenter

    I find it odd that with all the observations, work scrutinies etc. heads must have so much information about you that surely they should be able to write a comprehensive reference or are they spending too much time gathering information.
    notsonorthernlass likes this.
  14. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Teaching uses references in a way that's completely different to how the private sector use references (and maybe even how the rest of the public sector uses references?).

    No-one in the private sector asks for a reference before interviewing the candidates and then uses the reference to decide whether to appoint the person, but that's what happens in teaching. Coming from the private sector I still find that odd. Now that schools are in effect in competition with each other why do we still rely on the opinion of our competitor when deciding who to offer a job to?

    Maybe that will change and teacher appointments will become more like other jobs. Only the successful candidate will be asked to provide references and they're only used to check factual stuff, so a 'name rank and serial number' reference would be all that was needed, plus the "have you ever had any safeguarding concerns"-type questions.
  15. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    One of the many paradoxes of modern teaching

    One of the problems these idiots have is getting rid of people with years of good observations becasue they're solid teachers. Hence the introduction of one or two observations at RI and you're basically out of the door.

    Scandalous. The people who do it are, well, I can't put it in print.
  16. TCSC47

    TCSC47 Star commenter

    Thanks everybody. Just to finish the story off.

    My "young friend" is actually our daughter, if you hadn't guessed. I don't really like giving too much info like that. She is a very dedicated and hard working teacher, who has clearly been an excellent primary school teacher and then moved into FE and HE. Her record is excellent, and she enjoys her job, but like most young women in teaching nowadays the standards and the stress that they put on themselves are so difficult to deal with, on top of the stupid sheer amount of stress being dumped on all teachers externally. The camel's back thing, except it is more than a "straw"!

    What she was actually having trouble with was that the primary school who had offered her a job (it was in the evening after the interview by phone and I don't know if it was with or without a reference of some sort) wanted a reference stating what salary grade she had been on in primary. References had come through from her FE college and from her supply agency she worked with in her transition to FE, but neither had given this info. To resolve the problem she phoned up her old primary school and got a reference from them. Job sorted!

    But because of the disgraceful treatment of teachers with today's Nasty Party approach to continually try and cow teachers, our daughter who is on the edge pretty much like most of the profession (!), misinterpreted the situation and was somewhat distressed by it. I posted here to try and find some help. - which was forthcoming, so thanks again.

    I did actually suspect the FE college's HR department who I have always found to be a little bit up their own ------ , having worked in FE myself, but it was not.

    What this situation brings home to me once again, is why do teachers have to be treated as the enemy? Or so it seems!! I've seen a lot over my career and now I'm witness to my daughter and her many teacher friends being stripped of their sanity. Have the bean counters no idea of what they are doing? Are we so dangerous? Or in this age of the Nasty Party, is there so much money to be made out of asset-stripping our education system? Well, we know the answer boys and girls, don't we!!!!!
  17. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    How extraordinary! Very unusual nowadays.

    As there is now no Pay Portability in most schools, it looks as though she has lucked out and found a school that DOES maintain the old system.

    And I am pleased that everything now seems to have worked out for her.

    Best wishes to you both

  18. TCSC47

    TCSC47 Star commenter

    Thanks Theo.
  19. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    Yes it is good enough! This is now the standard for references in the grown-up world. Nothing in the reference indicated that your friend is unfit for the position. She accepted the job offer in good faith. Without evidence of unsuitability, or dishonesty, I would think that the school has a legal obligation to honour it's contract.

    Sadly, many schools have a very poor record on behaving honourably:(.

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