Reference matters

28th April 2006 at 01:00
However well prepared you are, there are bound to be problems in the first year of your teaching career. Whatever it is that's keeping you awake at night or sobbing on the school secretary's shoulder, our experts can lend a hand

Q: I'm applying for a new job, but I'd rather not ask my headteacher to write my reference. How bad would it look to ask someone else to write it?

A: Normally, this is virtually a mandatory requirement. If the head has, literally, just arrived, you might ask whether another more senior member of staff might be used, but even then the head might like to sign it.

If you have fallen out with your head and are worried that the reference will not be fair, do remember that the head cannot write anything that is factually incorrect or likely to be regarded as defamatory. In an extreme case, you might have to explain on the form why you are not using your current head as reference, but be prepared for some employers to be put off by this.

So be careful. With more applicants for jobs than in the past, the pendulum is swinging against applicants and towards the employer.

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