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Fraud probe: Police arrest headteacher at table-topping school

Suspended 74-year-old released while investigation continues

26 January, 2018 — By Samantha Booth

Tom Mannion: awarded OBE for services to education

A HEADTEACHER has been suspended from his post after detectives opened a fraud investigation.

Tom Mannion, the 74-year-old head at St Aloysius’ RC College in Hornsey Lane, Archway, was arrested last Wednesday after an allegation of fraud was made to the Metropolitan Police.
He has been questioned and released while police continue inquiries.

Mr Mannion joined the “outstanding” ­Ofsted-rated school for boys aged 11 to 19 in 2004 and was credited with helping to improve pupil standards.

The school had previously been placed in special measures, but after Mr Mannion’s arrival it was transformed and topped the ­borough’s GCSE league table.

In 2015, he was awarded an OBE for his services to education.

The Diocese of Westminster, which has overall control of the school, informed parents yesterday (Thursday). It said in a statement that an independent investigator had been brought in.

A spokeswoman for the Diocese said: “There have been allegations of fraud at St Aloysius’ College in Islington and the governing body is actively working with police to aid their ongoing investigation.”

She added: “The governors are taking the matter very seriously and have instructed an independent investigator to work alongside the police investigation to review school procedures.”

The news came as a shock to parents, who have not been given wider details on what the case relates to. Mr Mannion has not been charged by police with any offence.

A spokesman for the Islington National Education Union (NEU) told the Tribune: “Islington NEU was surprised to hear at the end of last week that the headteacher of St Aloysius’ College, most of whose teachers we represent, was questioned by police and has been suspended.”

He added: “In the weeks ahead, we look forward to being able to support our members through what are likely to be difficult times for the school and to put in place and to implement properly agreed procedures that will encourage stable industrial relations and improved staff morale at the school.”

The union added that staff were apparently called into a meeting and told that Mr Mannion, who previously taught at other inner London schools including Maria Fidelis in Euston, had been suspended.

Deputy headteacher Bill Lawrence has taken over leadership of the school.

The Diocese spokeswoman said: “The governing body are also working in close partnership with the Diocese of Westminster and Islington Council, who are fully supportive of the action taken. The welfare and learning of all students at the college remain the college’s key priority in the weeks ahead. The governing body will not be making any more statements while the investigation takes place.”

An Islington Council spokesman said: “We are aware police are investigating an allegation of fraud at a school in Islington. We cannot comment further at this time.”

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “A 74-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of fraud on Wednesday, January 17, and has been released under investigation. Officers from Central North CID are investigating.”

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