A SERIOUS Case Review is underway into what happened at a Hampshire special needs school hit by sex abuse claims, the Daily Echo can reveal.

Stanbridge Earls School near Romsey found itself criticised for excluding a pupil who had made a rape claim and was subjected to multiple inspections.

But now the Hampshire Safeguarding Children Board has confirmed a Serious Case Review is being conducted on events leading up to the closure of the troubled school.

Its findings should be revealed in the coming months.

As previously reported, the £39,000-a-year independent school, which had boarding and day pupils aged from 10 to 19, closed last year after failing to get enough children to sign up for classes for the new school year, making it financially unviable.

This came after a Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal in January 2013 found the school had discriminated against a girl and that staff members failed to tell the youngster's parents that she had complained of pain in an intimate part of her body.

An Ofsted inspection the next month also uncovered serious care failings.

An action plan drawn up by the school was rejected by the DfE.

Prosecutors later ruled there was insufficient evidence to bring charges for claims of sexual abuse of pupils.

They considered the original allegation made by the parents of a pupil and separate claims from four other pupils against 10 individual students.

It also investigated allegations of perverting the course of justice against two teachers.

Maggie Blyth, Independent Chair of the Hampshire Safeguarding Children Board, said: “An independent review of events pertaining to the circumstances that led to the closure of Stanbridge Earls was commissioned and is currently nearing the final stages of completion.

“The purpose of the review was to identify and consider any lessons that could be learned by agencies in the light of the unusual nature of that episode - the apparent failings in the application of safeguarding policies and procedures by an independent school which has now closed.

“Partners on the Board, together with other stakeholders including other local authorities, the Department for Education and Ofsted who have supported the review, are keen to learn and share any lessons.

“We anticipate that the report (Serious Case Review report) will be published in the next few months.”

In a statement, Hampshire Police said: "We can confirm we are contributing to the review and, like other agencies, we are keen to learn and share any lessons."

This comes after the Daily Echo revealed how the Charity Commission, which oversees charitable trusts, is looking again at its own inquiry into the school that previously found no fault in trustees' decisions and could even re-open its investigation.

Questions raised about the findings of its report, which investigated whether trustees had managed the school charity properly in the wake of the allegations, prompted the move.