What does a reference from a school look like?

Overview

We frequently get asked questions about what a school reference looks like. Generally, there will be two types of references which your prospective employer can ask for:

  1. A personal reference. This will often be short in length and include details such as duration of employment, your role and responsibilities, areas of strength and areas for improvement. These can also be called ‘character’ references
  2. A professional reference. This will often include more details than a personal reference and include information about your performance, areas of concern and if you have been subjected to any disciplinary or investigatory meetings

What does a personal reference look like?

Personal references are often written by someone who you have had a close working relationship with, for example your head of department. We have created an example of what a personal reference could look like:

To whom it may concern,

I can confirm that John Smith has worked at St Peter’s Secondary School since September 2017. As head of the English department, I have line managed John since September 2017 and he is a hard-working and considerate colleague. As part of John’s role as a teacher of English he has taken on a wide range of roles and responsibilities within the department. He has re-written schemes of work at KS3, conducted CPD workshops and has ran an extra-curricular cinema club.

I highly recommend John for this new position and I’m sure that he will do a great job. If you would like to speak to me in more detail please contact me on the details provided.

Yours sincerely,

Theresa Teacherton

What does a professional reference look like?

Professional references will most often be written by your line manager or headteacher. They will include details such as if you have been subject to any child protection allegations or any other concerns they might have about you working with children.

For examples of professional reference templates from schools please click on the links below:

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