question about prep school head references(12 Posts)
Apologies if this is obvious, still new to the independent system! Ds current head has to write a 'reference' to his possible senior school, which its implied on the senior school paperwork is considered very important.
Can I ask to see this reference or would it be considered a bit silly by his current head if I do ask to see it?
Usually they are "confidential", so you don't get to see it. No idea whether you have a legal right to see it. Not unusual for parents to put a reminder in for a head of child's extracurricular achievements.
Hmmm... Can you imagine the carnage if prep school heads were answerable to parents for references? Their lives wouldn't be worth living.
I think the feeling is that the head has to be able to write very frankly about each child. It would be quite damaging to their relationship with a senior school if they felt pressured into giving unjustly positive references because Mummies and Daddies were queuing up outside their door.
I have absolutely no idea of the legal position. But it's probably one of those areas of life where if you need to know the legal position you're probably not going towards a good outcome.
Is there any particular reason why you would feel the need to see the reference? What you ideally want is to trust the head to advise and guide you to the best school choice for your child.
Don't forget that it works both ways. It is in your schools best interests if a child gets into their first choice of school, and possibly part of their marketing.
The reference is unlikely to be negative.
If there is anything negative it will be said by phone rather than on paper.
Many thanks. I don't feel the need to see it and am following current heads advice on next school, being unfamiliar with the system I was intrigued by the idea of a confidential reference and how much weight it has and that children are often quite different as each year goes by (last yr was quite a rocky one for ds due to bullying issues for example)
Remember the current school want your child to be accepted and fit in , so if you follow recommendation it is unlikely to be negative.
We had to fill in a sort of CV in Year 5 detailing out of school activities - sport, drama, music, hobbies etc. - to make sure our head had a full picture before writing the report.
One of our friends (different school) ended up in a shocking mess, though - they wanted to apply to School A, Prep Head said he thought that their DS wouldn't cope academically, they went ahead and applied anyway, DS didn't get in, they then went down Freedom of Information route to see the Head's report as they decided that it must have been the report that caused this (not the results of the Maths test, English test, NVR test, 20 minute interview...)
I have been spending a lot of time listening to this saga and going Hmmmm.
Kingscote, that must be wearing. Ds did sit for a different school not actually recommended by head,as decided to try at very short notice for the pretest, but theres no way on earth I would have assumed that it was current heads fault he didn't pass, especially as the way ds described the interview I knew he'd gone into 'shut down' mode!
They do have a record of achievement which is updated regularly so would think that is the same idea as the CV thing.
Worth reviewing those records from time to time. According to dd's Leaver's certificate she played in the Tennis team and a follow up letter to ds had his new school wrong !
They are called ICAS forms, at least if the prep school chooses to use the common one, most schools do. No-one asks to see them from the parental body and many senior schools are rubbish at requesting them in good time! The boxes are rather bland and I know that the ones we turn out for the most part are very formulaic and could describe a multitude of children. I find that it's the conversations that our Head or other senior staff make to other schools informally that are far more important than the form itself! E.g. The head of music pushing a talented musician to the senior school head of music who would need a bursary/scholarship to go to the right school.
In my experience the views of the prep school are very important. A good head will know what school is suitable for a child. Of course if the parents dont agree...
I had a friend who kept putting her DS into school tests where she had no backing from the prep school. She said it couldnt do any harm for him to sit the tests and you never know...
Of course the boy didnt pass and then she started to blame her prep shcool for not supporting her well.
Having one child a a well known senior boarding school and one child in last few yrs of prep. If the head doesnt support you will have very little chance of doing it on your own.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
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