Writing a reference for your headteacher

Understand what’s expected of you if you receive a reference request for your headteacher. Find out whether you need to write a reference, who should write it and what it should cover.

Last reviewed on 20 July 2023See updates
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  1. Requirements
  2. How to write a reference and what to consider
  3. No requirement to disclose references


You're not always required to give a reference

You only have to give a reference if there's a written agreement with the headteacher to do so. 

If you do give a reference, it must be fair and accurate. 

Find out more about the rights surrounding references here.

The chair should provide the headteacher's reference

As the chair works closely with the headteacher, they'd be best placed to comment on the headteacher's employment at the school.

This was explained to us by our associate education expert Fred Birkett and the Department for Education (DfE).

Respond to any questions about capability

Maintained schools must share details about capability procedures that have occurred in the past 2 years if prospective employers request this information.

This information must contain:

  • Why there was a capability procedure 
  • The duration of the proceedings
  • What the outcome was 

If you're an academy, check your funding agreement to see

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