More than £73,000 stolen from Whitechapel school — but no one noticed until months later

Rachael Burford
·1-min read
London Enterprise Academy in Whitechapel  (Google Maps)
London Enterprise Academy in Whitechapel (Google Maps)

More than £73,000 was stolen from an east London school in a theft that went unnoticed for months.

The London Enterprise Academy, in Whitechapel, had “a number of failings and weaknesses in financial management”, according to a Government report released this month.

Thousands was stolen from the secondary school, run by the Tower Hamlets Enterprise Academy Ltd, over a period of eight months but not reported to police until March 2019.

The Education and Skills Funding Agency said the fact the fraud went unnoticed for so long put the school in breach of the Academies Financial Handbook, which requires trusts to be aware of the risks of theft and financial irregularities.

Investigators found that the school had paid for a staff member’s Amazon Prime memberships and late credit card payment fees and a former employee had linked their personal account to the trust on a banking app.

The school also claimed more students were in receipt of free school meals than the council had on its records.

The school, which opened six years ago, was rated as “inadequate” by Ofsted last year and placed in special measures. In a monitoring visit report published in January, inspectors said “effective action” was being taken by the school’s managers to improve.

A spokesman for the school trust said: “Our school became a victim of fraud. The trust has ensured that we have tighter internal controls in place. Tower Hamlets Enterprise Academy continues to implement the necessary steps. We will always continue to seek and take advice from our auditors in implementing any further improvements.”

Police are investigating.

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