GOVERNORS of a troubled Hampshire special school at the centre of sex abuse claims have made a formal complaint about a damning inspection report criticising their leadership as “flawed”.

A major police investigation is under way at Stanbridge Earls School, near Romsey, after two former pupils alleged they were sexually abused there.

An emergency Ofsted inspection published yesterday ruled that the “serious weaknesses” remain in protecting pupils properly, despite the appointment of interim head teacher Maggie McMurray after former head Peter Trythall stood down last month.

But furious governors – who saw a draft version of the report on Tuesday – have criticised Ofsted for releasing it two days after they lodged a formal complaint about its contents.

In a statement released yesterday governors said they were “concerned” at its findings and added: “It contains a number of significant errors and omissions, which the school drew to Ofsted’s attention in a formal complaint after seeing a draft of the report.

“Publishing such a flawed report will gratuitously unsettle the school’s pupils – most of whom have learning difficulties – at a time when many are sitting public examinations.”

The school is now facing another Ofsted inspection next month, which could see it closed if improvements have not been made.

The report – based on a three-day inspection carried out in April – coincided with an Independent Schools Inspectorate inspection, and followed a previous emergency inspection in January.

It claims children remain unsafe, staffing is inadequate, staff are not trained or experienced, and there is a significant weakness in leadership.

Inspectors also found that a junior staff member had been left to care for 39 boys within a week of starting employment there, despite only a brief overview of children’s needs and risk assessments.

But governors claim it fails to acknowledge Ms McMurray’s appointment on May 10 and contains five other key flawed points, and point out that an Independent Schools Inspect-orate Report also released yesterday is more positive.

An Ofsted spokeswoman said: “Our report stands for itself so we have nothing further to add.”

Romsey and Southamp-ton North MP Caroline Nokes has warned there will be no choice but to close the school unless improvements are made.

She said she would be contacting Government ministers to repeat her call for an inquiry to be held, and added: “I am alarmed at the continued failings this latest inspection identifies.

“If the school cannot immediately make the changes needed to guarantee the safety of its pupils, then I regrettably agree with Ofsted – the school should close.”