Headteacher of Winston Way Primary School dismissed over ‘financial irregularities’

Mark Mahoney in 2007 before the opening of Winston Way Primary School.

Mark Mahoney in 2007 before the opening of Winston Way Primary School. - Credit: Archant

The headteacher of an Ilford primary school has been fired after an investigation found “financial irregularities”.

Mark Mahoney led Winston Way Primary School, in Winston Way, since it opened in 2007.

He was suspended in December 2012 but parents were initially told his absence was due to “personal reasons”.

Redbridge Council announced an investigation was taking place in April but would not reveal what it was for.

A spokesman said Mr Mahoney has now been dismissed “following the discovery of financial irregularities”.

He was kept on full pay for months during his suspension until the dismissal hearing.

A teacher at the school, who did not want to be named, said staff noticed his absence from the beginning of December.

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The teacher, who did not want to be named, said council auditors took away computers and papers days after Mr Mahoney stopped coming into work.

Speaking in December, they said: “It seemed like the FBI came in – there was so much evidence they took.

“They were looking at papers and they took equipment away.

The teacher said Mr Mahoney’s sudden disappearance and contradictory reports about the reason for his absence was difficult for staff.

They added: “It’s bad for the children with teaching and resources. We don’t know where we stand, it’s difficult to plan.

“We feel sorry for the kids and we don’t know what to do.”

Parents also demanded answers about the mystery absence after being left in the dark for months.

Debra Webb, the acting headteacher will continue to lead the school until a new head is recruited.

The council has not answered the Recorder’s request for details of the financial irregularities found or said whether the matter has been passed to police.

Are you a parent of a child at Winston Way Primary School? Call us on 0208 477 3821 or email lizzie.dearden@archant.co.uk.