TWO Hampshire schools are to be examined by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.

Southlands School at Boldre and the former Stanbridge Earls School in Romsey are among the educational establishments which are set to come under the spotlight at the long-running inquiry.

Stanbridge Earls was a £39,000-a-year independent school which closed in 2013 after failing to enrol enough new pupils.

Earlier that year a Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal raised concerns about the way the school had dealt with claims that a 15-year-old girl had been raped and a 12-year-old had also been sexually assaulted.

The Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) also uncovered serious failings, saying children "remained unsafe" due to weaknesses in leadership and governance.

The Department for Education later rejected an action plan put forward by school chiefs.

A serious case review launched by the Hampshire Safeguarding Children Board criticised what it described as a "lack of alertness", adding that the school's failure to keep parents properly informed may have arisen from its failure to grasp the seriousness of the situation.

Southlands School caters for boys and girls aged 7-19 who are on the autistic spectrum.

Based in a large country house with extensive grounds it opened in 1995, becoming the first residential school in the UK for students with Asperger's syndrome - a form of autism.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse opened in 2015 and comprises 14 separate investigations, one of which will focus on residential schools.

An inquiry spokesman said: "The hearing will examine child sexual abuse in residential music and special schools, as well as institutional responses and safeguarding procedures.

"Children in residential special schools are particularly vulnerable to sexual abuse as a result of their isolation from their families and carers, as well as the involvement of staff in their personal care.

"Witnesses include victims and survivors of child sexual abuse in residential schools, teachers and safeguarding experts.

"The first week will focus on residential music schools.

"The inquiry chose to investigate these schools because of the issues arising from their specialist nature, including one-to-one tuition, an intimate atmosphere and an imbalance of power in teacher/pupil relationships."

Southlands and Stanbridge Earls will be among the schools examined the following week.

"The inquiry chose to focus on these schools because the children who attend them are among the most vulnerable in our society and the Inquiry seeks to examine if more action is needed to safeguard them," said the spokesman.

"On the first day, a written narrative of child sexual abuse at eight institutions which have since closed will be submitted.

"This document, referred to as the closed schools narrative, includes accounts from 50 victims and survivors and will provide a historical background to child sexual abuse and institutional failures across the school sector."

A Cambian spokesman said: “Southlands are supporting the inquiry and have provided evidence of best practice regarding policies and procedures of the safeguarding of vulnerable young people.”