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The ‘free faculty meals swindler’: Major faculty deputy headteacher, 36, who stole tens of hundreds of kilos in rip-off involving free meals for deprived pupils is dealing with jail

The ‘free faculty meals swindler’: Major faculty deputy headteacher, 36, who stole tens of hundreds of kilos in rip-off involving free meals for deprived pupils is dealing with jail


A revered deputy headteacher of a major faculty swindled tens of hundreds of kilos in a rip-off involving free faculty meals for deprived pupils.

Daniel Reynolds invoiced a council for meals when it had been donated by native organisations to feed kids throughout faculty holidays.

He pocketed more money by billing dad and mom whose kids did not qualify without spending a dime meals.

The 36-year-old is now dealing with jail after magistrates instructed him they did not have adequate sentencing powers for the string of fraud fees he admitted and adjourned the case to a crown court docket.

Reynolds – who burnished his caring credentials by organising a separate meals financial institution for pupils final yr – was warned ‘all choices’ had been open when he’s sentenced in January, together with jail.

A supply at West Earlham Junior Faculty in Norwich, Norfolk, stated after Reynolds  admitted the costs: ‘It was a complete bolt from the blue. Nobody anticipated this. All of us really feel betrayed.

Daniel Reynolds invoiced a council for food when it had been donated by local organisations to feed children during school holidays

Daniel Reynolds invoiced a council for meals when it had been donated by native organisations to feed kids throughout faculty holidays

West Earlham Junior School in Norwich, Norfolk

West Earlham Junior School in Norwich, Norfolk

West Earlham Junior Faculty in Norwich, Norfolk

‘He was sacked as quickly as this got here to mild and we’re simply attempting to maneuver on from it.’

Reynolds carried out the rip-off whereas in control of administering the varsity’s entitlement to funding from the Authorities’s Vacation Actions and Meals (HAF) programme, which was paid through Norfolk County Council.

The scheme was rolled out throughout the UK after Manchester Utd footballer Marcus Rashford’s high-profile marketing campaign for youngsters to obtain free faculty meals throughout lockdowns.

Vacation actions with meals for pupils had been staged on the faculty through the summer time holidays in 2021, the Christmas break that yr and into 2022, when Covid meant ‘training was very a lot a difficulty’, Norwich Magistrates Courtroom was instructed.

Reynolds continued working the scheme till the fraud was uncovered. He was dismissed from the varsity in October final yr following an investigation by police and the county council.

Prosecutor Josephine Jones stated the offences, involving ‘tens of hundreds of kilos’, had been carried out by somebody who was ‘ready of belief on the time, which he abused’.

She added: ‘He managed to acquire free meals from quite a lot of organisations however that didn’t cease him invoicing for them.

Prosecutor Josephine Jones said the offences, involving 'tens of thousands of pounds', were carried out by someone who was 'in a position of trust at the time, which he abused' (stock)

Prosecutor Josephine Jones said the offences, involving 'tens of thousands of pounds', were carried out by someone who was 'in a position of trust at the time, which he abused' (stock)

Prosecutor Josephine Jones stated the offences, involving ‘tens of hundreds of kilos’, had been carried out by somebody who was ‘ready of belief on the time, which he abused’ (inventory)

‘Equally, he charged dad and mom whose kids weren’t entitled to free faculty meals for meals, regardless that that meals had all been obtained with out cost.

‘He falsified paperwork together with invoices as a way to reclaim that cash from the county council however that was cash that needn’t have been spent within the first place as a result of what had ben given was by means of donations.’

Reynolds, who lives in Norwich, was convicted of three fees of fraud by false illustration and creating false receipts and documentation when he appeared in court docket final week. He will probably be sentenced at Norwich Crown Courtroom.

Hannah Simpson, defending, instructed the Bench: ‘The rules are very clear when it comes to culpability due to his function as a deputy head and the figures concerned put this matter outdoors sentencing powers of the magistrates.

Magistrates can impose a most 12-month jail time period for an offence.

Reynolds appeared in an area newspaper final yr when he launched a meals financial institution on the faculty to assist dad and mom and pupils who had been combating the cost-of-living disaster.

He stated on the time: ‘We’ve got kids in our lecture rooms dwelling on the breadline. So many households are struggling, particularly with power costs growing.’

Including that he wished the meals financial institution to really feel like a ‘social grocery store’, he continued: ‘We have discovered that some dad and mom are reluctant to return and communicate to us.

‘What I might envisaged is a financial institution within the faculty’s reception the place dad and mom can come and assist themselves to something you’d usually discover in a meals financial institution. We wish to break down these limitations.’

West Earlham Junior Faculty, which was approached for a remark, was rated ‘good’ in its final Ofsted inspection in 2019.

The report acknowledged: ‘The college has a really excessive proportion of deprived pupils and extra funding is rigorously spent to fulfill the wants of this group.’

Some 110 of the varsity’s 234 pupils, of 47 per cent, qualify without spending a dime faculty meals – almost double the UK nationwide common of 28 per cent, in accordance with authorities statistics.

A Norfolk County Council spokesperson stated: ‘We’re happy to see that justice has been performed on this case.

‘That is all the way down to the diligence of our finance and audit groups, who uncovered and investigated this fraud and reported the matter to the police.

‘Our Vacation Actions and Meals (HAF) funding is aimed toward offering meals and actions for youngsters eligible without spending a dime faculty meals within the faculty holidays, so it’s significantly disappointing {that a} deputy headteacher would attempt to defraud the programme.

‘We feature out common scrutiny and auditing of faculty budgets and of our suppliers. That is the primary time that now we have encountered fraud regarding HAF actions.

‘We’ll proceed to carefully monitor the programme to make sure that public cash is correctly spent.’



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Written by bourbiza mohamed

Bourbiza Mohamed is a freelance journalist and political science analyst holding a Master's degree in Political Science. Armed with a sharp pen and a discerning eye, Bourbiza Mohamed contributes to various renowned sites, delivering incisive insights on current political and social issues. His experience translates into thought-provoking articles that spur dialogue and reflection.

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