A PRIMARY school head teacher will appear in court later this month following an incident in which a fire extinguisher went off in a teaching assistant's face.

Jerome McCormack, head at Christ the King Roman Catholic Primary School in Amesbury, will appear in Salisbury magistrates' court for common assault charges on December 15. 

As previously reported by the Journal, the trade union for school support staff, GMB, called for Mr McCormack to be suspended while an investigation into the "extraordinary and disturbing" incident was carried out.

It came after the fire extinguisher went off in a teaching assistant's face during a fire safety demonstration in May. 

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

The school did not respond to the Journal's requests for comment. 

GMB Southern now says it is "very concerned that the school governors, Wiltshire Council HR, and the Catholic Diocese off Clifton have failed to treat this matter with the seriousness it deserved". 

The union had previously called for the Bishop of Clifton, the Right Reverend Declan Lang, to intervene at the school. 

Carole Vallelly, GMB regional organiser, said the Catholic Diocese of Clifton and Wiltshire Council "dithered and took several weeks" before conducting an investigation into the incident, adding: "It is as if they didn't want to know."

She said school governors "have failed to apologise" to the female member of staff involved, who "is still off sick due to the trauma" as no return to work has been organised for her. 

Ms Vallelly said: "This is one of the most extraordinary and disturbing incidents that I have come across in all my time as a trade unions organiser, and it reflects very poorlyon the standard of oversight and governance of schools in the Catholic Diocese of Clifton.

"The matter was brought to the attention of the Bishop and his director of education, yet they simply stood back and pushed the responsibility onto school governors."

Mr McCormack will appear before magistrates in Salisbury on December 15.