Leyton school where terror teacher Umar Haque worked reveals shock at discovering attack plans

Umar Haque. Picture: Met Police

Umar Haque. Picture: Met Police - Credit: Met Police

An Islamic school charging £3,000 a year fees has said it was horrified to learn a former teacher tried to recruit children before planning terror attacks across the capital.

The Lantern of Knowledge School in Lindley Road, Leyton. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

The Lantern of Knowledge School in Lindley Road, Leyton. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS - Credit: Archant

The Lantern of Knowledge – an Islamic boys secondary school in Lindley Road, Leyton – said in a statement it was “struck with horror” after it first heard about the arrest of former part-time teacher Umar Haque.

The school said in a statement: “Whilst there were no signs of any extremist activity in Mr Haque’s performance, nor were there any complaints made by staff, children of parents during his employment.” It said concerns about the 25-year-old surfaced a year after he left and staff were not made aware of any extremism concerns by the police while he was at the school.

Islamic State (IS) fanatic Haque, from Forest Gate, planned to use guns and a car bomb to strike 30 high-profile targets including Big Ben and the Queen’s Guard.

He enlisted helpers at Barking’s Ripple Road mosque, where he secretly brainwashed 16 children as young as 11 through terrorism role play and exercises.

During his Old Bailey trial Haque admitted playing an IS film to pupils at the Lantern of Knowledge fee-paying school where he had worked from April 2015 until leaving “for personal reasons” in January 2016. Haque was assigned a class of 18 while at the school. He was jailed for life in March to serve at least 25 years.

“We denounce any form of radicalisation and would have been swift to notify the police if any had come to our attention during of after Mr Haque’s employment,” the school said.

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“Our school takes extremism very seriously. We work tirelessly to develop pupils into upstanding British citizens.

“We treat the safety and welfare of our pupils with the upmost importance,” the statement read.

It added recruitment procedures were in line with legal guidance issued by the Department for Education and that school’s watchdog Ofsted judged these to be “effective”.

In its last Ofsted inspection the school, with 108 pupils on roll, was rated as “requires improvement”. The school’s checks on the suitability of staff before employment had improved since June 2017, the report added.

The school is currently being investigated by watchdog the Charity Commission.