THE headmaster of a controversial school at the centre of shocking sex abuse claims has today resigned.

Peter Trythall has stepped down from his role at Stanbridge Earls “in the best interests of the school”.

It comes as a major police investigation continues into allegations made by two former students at the Romsey-based facility, which caters for youngsters with learning disabilities.

As previously reported, The Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal found earlier this year that the school had discriminated against a girl and that a number of staff members failed to tell the youngster's parents that she had complained of pain in an intimate part of her body.

Mr Trythall was accused of “a failure of responsibility” while the Nursing and Midwifery Council confirmed that school nurse Melanie Bavington was under investigation.

In a statement, today, the governors said: “The Governors of Stanbridge Earls School have today accepted the resignation of the Headmaster, Mr Peter Trythall.

“They acknowledge the difficulties he has faced during these last few months, and respect his decision which he has taken in the best interests of the School.

“They are indebted to him for the many things that he has achieved during his tenure of office.

“The day to day management of the School will be in the hands of the two Deputies, supported by a specialist SEN Consultant in Leadership and Management, and under the guidance of the Chairman of Governors until such time as an interim Head can be appointed.”

The tribunal found that the vulnerable youngster suffered “appalling abuse” at the hands of another student while the £39,000-a-year school was slammed by panel members for being “unsystematic, unprofessional, ad hoc and completely inadequate” when it came to protecting the youngster, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

The tribunal later ruled that the school should pay the family £86,000 for costs they built up during the proceedings.

Detectives from Hampshire police's public protection department are examining whether “further criminal offences” have been committed against other youngsters attending the school.

The bombshell departure of Mr Trythall comes after both the chairman of the board of Governors Tony Knight and a second governor Claire Marsden stepped resigned.

The school has vowed to make urgent improvements and to work with outside agencies.