Archimedes is wrong (TES, July 13). Heads are under a contractual obligation to provide references - see the Blue Book, paragraph 51: "the professional duties of a headteacher shall include..." and 51.9: "shall" signifies the imperative.
A teacher denied a reference could sue for damages in the amount of the salary difference of the lost promotion.
Regional official, National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers
Archimedes writes: I am always sorry to have to disagree with the NASUWT. The relevant section in the pay and conditions document says a head has a duty to provide information (not a reference) about a teacher's professional performance "where it is relevant" to his or her future career. In the case quoted, I believe the head could argue that the information was irrelevant, because the governing body had already decided to appoint. If requested, basic information about the teacher's record could be sent.