The Express and Star is reporting that Andrea Payne, who had worked at Etching Hill Primary for eight years, admitted stealing £1,416 from the school between January and July last year.
The mother-of-two took the money that was meant for school trips and other activities while she was working in the finance department in order to ‘help her children feel better about themselves’.
At Cannock Magistrates Court yesterday, Payne, aged 35… pleaded guilty to theft.
The court heard how the extent of the theft was only discovered when a colleague of Payne took over her role whilst she was off.
When she was first interviewed by police in October last year, she admitted to only stealing £600. When she was interviewed again in January this year however, she admitted the full amount after being presented with further evidence….
…She had worked at the school for eight years before the theft.
Miss Claire Stephens, defending Payne, told the court ‘money was tight’ for her client and that is why she took it.
She said: “Mrs Payne initially planned to return the money but found herself spiralling out of control.
“She used the money to buy things for her children to make them feel better about themselves.”…
Presiding magistrate, Ian Jones, told Payne: “The victims of your crime were vulnerable, that is to say, they were children at school so it is my view that you repay all of the money.”
I know there are lots of schools, so as a proportion these incidents are very small, but they do seem to happen more often than you would like (and that’s just the ones that get discovered).
Do schools need better systems for managing and accounting for money – especially money brought into the school from parents and carers?
Please tell us what you think in the comments or via Twitter…
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