A SECOND governor of a Hampshire special school at the heart of sex abuse allegations has stepped down.

Claire Marsden has resigned from the board of Stanbridge Earls School near Romsey just days after its chairman quit.

The revelation comes as the school, where parents pay fees of up to £39,000, is being investigated following claims by former pupils that they were abused there.

In a statement, Mrs Marsden said: “I decided to resign as I have an enormous amount of respect for the governing body and wanted to ensure that it had the full strength and insight required by the school.

“I live close by and my husband's godson had a very happy time as a pupil at the school.

“However I felt I misjudged the contribution I would be able to make as a 'housewife' with no in-depth knowledge of the educational system.

“I am a mother of teenage children and have a qualification in teaching dyslexic children gained from the dyslexic institute in 2004 but I have no teaching experience.

“I joined the governing body as I have an interest in children with specialist learning difficulties and Stanbridge Earls has a made a real and practical difference to many children who might otherwise find no place within the educational system.

“It has been a pleasure and privilege to have been associated with the school."

As previously reported, chairman Tony Knight stepped down last week and has been replaced by vice-chairman David du Croz, who has vowed to safeguard the school's future.

In a letter sent to parents, Mr du Croz said Mr Knight had always intended to step down because of his wife's ill heath and “given the current circumstances he has felt that it is better to make that change now rather than later”.

Mr du Croz has been a member of the governing body for four years, vice-chairman for the past two years, and chairman of the education committee.

Hampshire police's public protection department has set up Operation Flamborough to probe allegations made by two former pupils from the school.

The force wants find out whether any “further criminal offences” have been committed against the known victims or other children.

They will then assess the findings of a special educational needs and disability tribunal which found the school, which specialises in teaching children with dyslexia, failed to protect a vulnerable girl from “appalling abuse” at the hands of another pupil.

They are also investigating whether any disciplinary measures should be taken against their own officers following investigations into previous claims.

The Charity Commission has also launched their own probe into the school, which has charitable status, amid “serious concerns” about the way staff dealt with initial allegations.