Are you applying for teacher training? It’s time to think about referees.
When applying through UCAS, it is easy to miss how important referees are. The UCAS references are an integral part of your application and one of the strongest items for identifying trainees that will make a difference in the classroom. Weak references are likely to risk you missing out on a training place or even prevent you from being interviewed.
Ideally, at least 1 academic UCAS reference – the PGCE is at M level & we need to know your academic qualities. Your University tutors are ideally suited to talk about your motivations, how you deal with challenges, do you achieve what you set out to? They can discuss how you respond to feedback & how you engaged with your subject.
We know it’s not always possible to give an academic UCAS reference. If you left uni 5+ years ago, then the information that they provide may not be relevant. If this is the case then two professional references are absolutely fine.
Next, look for someone who has worked with you in a professional capacity. Who can discuss your qualities (that relate to teaching)? Who is in the best position to talk about your ability to work with others, problem solve, be resilient, train people, build relationships and communicate key information
When deciding, make sure they know you enough to talk about you. A short reference is as bad as a weak reference. Don’t pick the head of a school, where you volunteered a day a week, if they don’t know you… People believe that the reference should come from the person in the most senior position, but we feel the best person is someone who can discuss you, at length. This needs to be from a position of knowledge, so it would not be a friend or someone you manage. A teacher that you have supported regularly or a manager who understands how you work under pressure, what brings out the best in you would both be ideal.
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