Authorities have expressed concern over how an extremist, who aimed to recruit a “child army” for IS-inspired terror attacks, was able to teach at a Leyton school without any qualifications.

Umar Haque was found guilty on Friday of plotting a series of strikes at London landmarks including Big Ben and Westfield shopping centre in 2016 and early 2017.

During his trial, the Old Bailey heard the 25-year-old aimed to enlist 300 children to help him carry out the Jihadist attacks.

Jurors were told Haque played children as young as 11 videos of IS beheadings in class while working as a teacher at the £3,000-a-year independent Lantern of Knowledge School in Leyton.

Police said youngsters at the all-boys Muslim faith school were so “paralysed with fear” by the gory footage, officers initially faced a “wall of silence” during their investigation.

Haque, of Forest Gate, had been allowed to run lessons at the school between April 2015 and January 2016, despite having no formal teaching qualifications.

Ofsted inspectors had given Lantern of Knowledge an “outstanding” report in November 2015, unaware a staff member was harbouring extremist views.

Commander Dean Haydon, of the Met’s counter terrorism command said it was “concerning” Haque had been able to teach at Lantern of Knowledge, adding parents were “horrified” when they learned of the situation.

“We spoke to parents and as you can imagine they were as concerned - and probably horrified - as we were,” Commander Haydon said.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Haque took lessons at Lantern of Knowledge School in Leyton (pic: Google)

“He abused his position at those venues and tried, and did, radicalise vulnerable children aged between 11 and 14.

"It was clear he aspired to create an army of children as he called them. His plan was to teach them to drive as they got older and his intention was they would help him carry out those attacks in London.”

After Haque was charged with terrorism attack planning, the Department for Education ordered an emergency Ofsted inspection at Lantern of Knowledge in June 2017.

This time, inspectors found the school “does not meet all of the independent school standards”.

Even though staff had been given safeguarding guidance, discussions with leaders and staff “demonstrated that they do not understand” it, the report stated.

A subsequent Ofsted report published earlier this year found the school still “requires improvement”, but inspectors noted checks on newly hired staff had improved.

Jurors failed to reach a verdict on a charge of dissemination of terrorist publications at the school.

However, Haque was found guilty of four charges relating to preparation for terrorism and of leading drills with children at Ripple Road Mosque in Barking, where he also took on a teaching role.

Accomplices Abuthaher Mamun and Muhammad Abid, who Haque recruited after meeting at the mosque, were also convicted for their roles in helping him.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Abuthaher Mamun (left) and Muhammad Abid were convicted of aiding Haque

Lantern of Knowledge told the Guardian Series it had been “shocked and horrified” to learn of Haque’s actions.

The school said he had been employed as a “part time teacher and supervisor” in a “relatively minor role” and insisted it followed safeguarding procedures when he was hired.

“The trustees, governors and staff of Lantern of Knowledge School were shocked when Umar Haque was arrested, and struck with horror to subsequently learn of his activities,” a statement from the school said.

“Our trust and school takes extremism very seriously.

"We work tirelessly to develop our pupils into rounded, upstanding and inclusive British-citizens who make positive contributions to society.

“We would like to emphasise that we treat the safety and welfare of our pupils with the upmost importance. This is the only such isolated incident at our school since it opened in 2006.

“Whilst at our school, there was no indication or signs of any extremist activity or attitude by Mr Haque, nor were any complaints made by other staff, children or parents during his employment.

“The school works closely with the local Prevent team. Concerns about Mr Haque were first raised by police a year after he left.”

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