SERIOUS questions have been raised about a primary school headmaster after dozens of staff members quit during the past five years.

More than 70 teachers, teaching assistants and support workers have left Christ the King Catholic Primary School in Amesbury since Jerome McCormack took over in 2012.

Several told the Journal his “overbearing” management style had created an intolerable working environment which left them distraught and demoralised, some with lasting mental health needs.

At one point, five senior teachers resigned in a week.

Some continued successful teaching careers elsewhere, but it is alleged that others were so traumatised that they left the profession altogether.

Trade union the GMB said this level of turnover was “extraordinary” and the school was “in crisis”.

And it raised concerns about how the school’s governors and the Catholic Church had handled complaints against Mr McCormack.

Union rep Carole Vallelly accused governors of being “unwilling to take their responsibilities seriously”.

And she also accused the Clifton Diocese of negligence and failing in its duty of care to staff.

Governors brought in a consultant head teacher this year to drive up standards after the school’s latest SAT results were among the worst in the country.

Pupils’ progress in maths and reading was “well below average” and ranked in the bottom 10 per cent nationally.

Now the school is being placed under special measures after Ofsted found it inadequate in all areas.

Former members of staff interviewed by the Journal said they were disgusted that concerns they raised during the previous Ofsted inspection in 2014, as well as with the governors, diocese and local authority, were only now being highlighted four years later.

Ann Greaves, a former senior leader at the school, said: “We were watching a good school disintegrate. As professionals we only had the good of the children at heart.

“We are incredibly angry and saddened that Christ the King Primary has been let down so badly.”

Another ex-senior teacher, Suja Sivadasan, said: “The governors, diocese and the local authority must be held to account.

“There are many people who should receive an apology for the way they were treated before they left and for the way their concerns and complaints were dealt with.”

Last year Mr McCormack was charged with assault for allegedly blasting a teaching assistant in the face with a fire extinguisher in front of staff and pupils.

He had been due to stand trial in March but the case against him was dropped due to a lack of evidence. The GMB says it plans to appeal this decision.

The union is also calling for him to be struck off for misconduct and is complaining to the National College for Teaching and Leadership.

The Bishop of Clifton, Declan Lang, said the diocese had supported governors through some “significant challenges” over the past 18 months and had installed a new, “highly experienced” chairwoman.

Mr McCormack refuses to speak to the Journal.