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Say no to rushed references

I write as chairman of Reading University's staff-student committee, representing 30 staff and 200 postgraduate certificate in education students. We would like to express our deep concern at the manner in which many secondary schools handle recruitment of newly-qualified teachers.

We are particularly concerned about procedures for references. These are often taken up at short notice: in one case, in the morning for an afternoon interview. This puts students whose tutors are not immediately available in a weaker position through no fault of their own.

For a reference to be accurate and considered, the writer needs time to consider recent work by the student and the demands of the job and school in question. Rushed references benefit neither the school nor the student.

CAROL TOMS Reading University Bulmershe Court Earley, Reading

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