education chiefs have been forced to apologise after sending welcome letters to reappointed governors - only to tell them later they were not properly elected.

Now both governors told by Hampshire county council they were serving illegally have been voted back onto the board at Bishop's Waltham Infant School.

Diana Underwood, chairwoman at the time, and colleague Pat Staples, were informed last week they had not been properly re-elected for some months.

A county official told them they could not be governors until they were properly co-opted.

But as revealed in the Daily Echo, both women had letters from Hampshire confirming their reappointment and had no idea there was a problem.

On Thursday Mrs Underwood and Mrs Staples attended a governors' meeting and were formally co-opted back onto the board.

Although the council claims it was the board's responsibility to carry out the proper procedures, it has admitted its letter made things worse.

A spokeswoman said: "County education officer Andrew Seber has sent a letter of apology to both governors for the confusion caused by a routine letter sent by his department which appeared to confirm the status of both individuals as governors." The letter has now been changed to make clear what was being confirmed to make sure governors know they must be formally co-opted.

Mrs Staples, 53, of Waltham Chase, said she was glad the matter had been resolved and pleased the county had finally recognised its mistake.

"I want to carry on doing my best for the school - the same as I have always done," she said.

Mrs Underwood, due to face a vote of no confidence before the mistake was discovered, said she was also pleased to be back but resented the damage to the school that the incident had caused.

"I hope things can get back to normal - it is a very good school and the children all do very well."

New chairman William Heaps said the governing body took responsibility for not ensuring the correct co-option procedures were followed and apologised to both women.

He said: "We are now keen to get back to the job in hand of contributing to the excellent educational standards at Bishop's Waltham Infant School."