GMB protest against headteacher of Wiltshire school

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GMB, the trade union for school support staff, will be leafleting parents outside Christ the King School in Amesbury calling for the Headteacher, Mr Jerome McCormack to be suspended while serious allegations about an incident at the school are investigated.

The protest will take place at 2:45 pm on Tuesday 11th July at the following location:

Christ the King Roman Catholic Primary School
45 Earls Court Road
Salisbury SP4 7LX

Carole Vallelly, GMB Regional Organiser says: “A serious incident occurred at the school on 25th May.  It has been reported to the police, who are investigating.  On 5th June, GMB trade union advised Wiltshire County Council HR department of the incident and requested that the headteacher 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, then his continued presence at the school while the investigation took place would compromise the integrity of the investigation.

“On a previous occasion, GMB and teaching unions approached the school governors to discuss what was reported to us as the overbearing attitude of Mr McCormack towards staff, which gives us further concern that his continued presence at the school would compromise the willingness of witnesses to speak freely.  Furthermore, in GMB’s considerable experience of dealing with schools, we have never known a school to fail to suspend a member of staff facing allegations of similar seriousness.  It seems there is one rule for headteacher’s, and another rule for staff.  Under employment law, suspension is a neutral act, so the school governors would not have been pre-judging the investigation by suspending him.  Nevertheless, the perverse decision was taken by the chair of governors, Mary Hrekow, not to suspend Mr McCormack.

“Furthermore, as a trade union we asked for the risk assessment which should have been prepared prior to the activity during which the incident occurred, and we have not been provided with one, and the Chair of Governors has failed to answer our query to confirm that a risk assessment was even done.  No timely Health and Safety investigation was carried out either, and GMB has therefore reported the incident, and the failings of the response by the governors, to the Health and Safety Executive.

“GMB also believes that the School Governors and the Head teacher may have failed to properly discharge their duties under fire prevention regulations in connection with the incident.

“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. It is our belief that there is a strong case that the school’s chair of governors has not acted as she could reasonably be expected to act in the interests of staff and pupil safety.

“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.

Contact: Carole Vallelly on 07912181476