A PRIMARY school head teacher should be suspended after an “extraordinary and disturbing incident” involving a fire extinguisher, a union has claimed.

It comes after the foam device went off in a teaching assistant’s face at Christ the King School in Amesbury during a fire safety demonstration in May.

The member of staff sought medical attention and the incident was reported to the police.

GMB, the trade union for school support staff, claims head teacher Jerome McCormack was involved in the incident and should be suspended while an investigation is carried out.

The union took what it called an “unusual step” of handing out leaflets to parents at the school on Tuesday afternoon.

Andy Newman, GMB’s branch secretary for Wiltshire said the action was taken because of concerns that “a serious incident involving safety has not been dealt with appropriately by the school governors”.

GMB says it advised Wiltshire Council of the incident on June 5 and requested that Mr McCormack “be suspended as a question of urgency, due to the serious nature of the allegations, and that because Mr McCormack is in a position of authority over the witnesses to the incident” his presence “could compromise the integrity of the investigation”.

The incident involved “a significantly sized fire [which] was deliberately started in the school playground” and GMB said it had “grave concerns that both pupils and staff safety may have been put at risk”.

A letter to parents on Monday said safety was the governors’ “top priority” and they had undertaken a health and safety investigation.

But GMB says it has asked Mary Hrekow, the school’s acting chair of governors, for a copy of the formal risk assessment carried out before the event on two occasions, but has not received a response.

Carole Vallelly, GMB regional organiser called Ms Hrekow’s decision not to suspend MrMcCormack “perverse”.

“In all my years as a trade union officer, this is one of the most extraordinary and disturbing incidents that I have been involved with,” she said.

“We believe that the only way to restore confidence is for the head teacher to be suspended immediately, and a new investigation to be undertaken from scratch that is not compromised by participation of those governors and HR advisors who have seemingly prejudged the issue, and decided that it was not serious enough to warrant suspension.”

GMB says it will now carry out its own investigation into the incident, “as the school governors seem unwilling to act”. Police are also investigating the event.

Neither Mr McCormack nor the board of governors responded to requests for comment.