Arranging your references

Once you’ve filled in the main sections of the UCAS Teacher Training form and prepared your personal statement, you’ll need to provide two references. This is a compulsory part of the application process and you will not be able to submit your application without them. 

It’s vital that you choose individuals who know you well enough to highlight your potential as a teacher. Remember, it will take time for your references to be completed. To avoid any of your preferred choices closing while you’re waiting for a reference, contact your referees in advance and ask if they can reply to the request as promptly as possible.

Referee requirements

You’ll need to choose one ‘principal’ referee and one ‘secondary’ referee. The requirements for this depend on your circumstances, as follows:

Principal referee

  • If you’ve been in education during the last five years, you should provide an academic reference from your principal referee – this could be a current or recent tutor
  • If you’ve been out of education for longer than five years, you can provide two professional references if you think an academic reference won’t be relevant

Second referee

  • Your second reference should come from a professional – ideally someone you’ve worked for, or someone who can talk about your skills, personality and suitability for teaching
  • If you're applying for a School Direct (salaried) course, one of your references must be from an employer. If you’re self-employed and unable to provide a reference from a former employer, your referee should be someone who knows you from work, who can comment on your work and suitability for teaching    
  • If a reference is from a school the reference must come from the headteacher

UCAS will not accept references from family members, friends, partners or ex-partners.

Requesting a reference

The process is as follows:

  • UCAS will send each referee a request for a reference based on the contact details you provide
  • your referees will then need to complete the reference online via the UCAS website; UCAS will not accept paper or emailed references
  • if your referee does not respond within 14 days, they’ll automatically be sent a reminder by UCAS
  • after this, you can use the UCAS Teacher Training site to send your own reminder 
  • if your referee doesn’t respond you can change your referee details at any time

UCAS will send you a confirmation once your references have been received. You can then log in to your UCAS account and make a final decision on the places you want to apply for, before submitting your application.