Allegations of bullying have been made against a headteacher at a public meeting by an anonymous former member of staff.

There was a full house at St Peter's Church for the meeting called to debate Ilfracombe Infant and Nursery School leaving the federation with Goodleigh.There was a full house at St Peter's Church for the meeting called to debate Ilfracombe Infant and Nursery School leaving the federation with Goodleigh.

In a statement, the unnamed former Goodleigh teacher, said they seriously considered crashing their car on the way to work so they could injure themselves and avoid their headteacher.

The claim was among allegations made against Claire Grant, the executive headteacher of Goodleigh Primary School and Ilfracombe Infant and Nursery School, at a public meeting on Tuesday, February 12.

The meeting was held to discuss calls to de-federate the schools - an issue which has caused heated debate and the suspension of three Ilfracombe governors.

In a statement read out by a third party, the former teacher claimed crashing the car would allow them to 'escape' the head for half a term. They claimed the head 'hounded' people, bullied them and 'ground them down', with a culture of fear at the school.

There was a full house at St Peter's Church for the meeting called to debate Ilfracombe Infant and Nursery School leaving the federation with Goodleigh.There was a full house at St Peter's Church for the meeting called to debate Ilfracombe Infant and Nursery School leaving the federation with Goodleigh.

A Devon County Council spokesman, representing the headteacher, told the Gazette after the meeting: "These allegations have been made anonymously. They are factually unproven and clearly do not represent the views of the school which is unable to provide any challenge because of their anonymous nature."

Tuesday's meeting had been called to discuss the Ilfracombe school breaking away from its federation with Goodleigh following the suspension of three Ilfracombe governors.

The allegations of bullying against Mrs Grant were read out to the meeting by Penny Watson, daughter of suspended governor Iris Watson, after she had been contacted by a former Goodleigh teacher, who wished to remain anonymous.

Penny told the meeting it was one of many communications she had received from former and current teachers at both schools.

The statement read: "What I experienced working for Mrs Grant at Goodleigh sent me to the edge of a nervous breakdown and I have never been the same since.

"I recall on one of my last days at the school, driving to work and considering turning my car off the road and into a tree. I thought that potentially breaking a leg would at least mean escaping Mrs Grant for half a term. It was at that point I decided not to go back.

"In my opinion, Mrs Grant is a bully of the most dangerous kind. She has power and she uses it to belittle and emotionally batter people until they are too weak to fight back. They truly believe, as I did, that they are to blame.

"Rather than a supportive culture that you would hope for in a school, there is fear. Her micro-management style means that every detail of your room, books, teaching and planning is scrutinised to the nth degree in a negative and damaging way (unlike the usual practise of any other school I have worked in where the process is constructive and positive).

"She hounds people, bullies them, grinds them down until they have no choice but to choose long-term sickness pay or they leave."

The former teacher concluded: "I have allowed this statement to be read, not because of any personal vendetta against Mrs Grant, although to this day I fear seeing her again. The anxiety created from my time working with her is always present."

Governors at Goodleigh were meeting today (Friday, February 15) to debate the proposal to dissolve the federation and separate the two schools.