Compensation claims have been made against a north Norfolk school by ex-pupils who were sexually abused by a former teacher who was jailed last year for 14 years.

Mervyn Rush (pictured) was sent to prison in August, aged 68, after he admitted 18 sex attacks against boys as young as nine.

The offences took place at the Beeston Hall School, near Cromer, during the 1970s, while Rush worked there as a science teacher.

Robin Gainher, headteacher of the school, said: 'Beeston Hall School Trust Ltd is aware of claims against the school for damages following the conviction of a former member of staff, Mervyn Rush, who left the school in 1976, relating to offences from some 40 years ago. The matter is in the hands of our legal representatives.'

He added: 'We are deeply saddened that an adult in a position of trust and responsibility has committed crimes of this nature against children in the school's care at Beeston Hall.

'Although these offences took place some 40 years ago, they remain shocking, and we applaud the bravery of victims who came forward to give evidence against Mervyn Rush. Although long delayed, we were pleased to see justice was done.'

Mr Gainher said: 'Beeston Hall School is now a very different school from what it was forty years ago. We put the safety, welfare and well-being of all our pupils at the heart of everything we do.

'Our policies are fully in line with current legal requirements. They are constantly being updated in conjunction with changes in the law and in collaboration with the regulators.

'The school's pastoral care is now the subject of continual scrutiny by the school's governing body.

'We receive regular independent inspections by Ofsted and ISI as part of the cycle of inspections independent schools are subject to.

'Our most recent inspection reports found that the level of pastoral care and support for the pupils to be excellent.'

Two compensation claims have been made since November last year.

The headteacher added: 'We are exploring different avenues and we will try to get the best solution for the school and victims.'

He described the claims as a 'work in progress' and did not know when they would be settled by the school lawyers.

Beeston Hall School is an independent boarding and day school for boys and girls aged seven to 13.

There are currently 130 pupils at the school.

It first admitted day girls in September 1976 and girl boarders in September 1978.