A FORMER teacher has been arrested on suspicion of sexually abusing pupils at two private boarding schools, one of which is near Kidderminster.

West Mercia Police arrested a man in his 50s after allegations of abuse dating from the 1980s were made by former pupils.

The offences are alleged to have happened at Winterfold House School in Chaddesley Corbett, near Kidderminster, from 1980 to 1985, and at The Oratory School in Woodcote, Oxfordshire, from 1985 to 1989.

The man was arrested in Chichester, West Sussex, on suspicion of gross indecency and indecent assault and is being questioned by detectives.

Detective Inspector Adam Hartwright said: "The man who has been arrested taught at Winterfold House, which was then a boarding school, and The Oratory boarding and day school.

"A number of alleged historic offences have been disclosed by former pupils, and we are keen to speak to any other former students or staff who may have been at the schools at the relevant times and have information which would assist the inquiry."

Both schools have been informed of the investigation and are co-operating fully, added Mr Hartwright.

Morag Chapman, chair of governors at Winterfold House, said the well-being of its pupils was the school's top priority.

"Unfortunately, for legal reasons we cannot comment at this time on the allegations against a former staff member who left Winterfold House nearly 30 years ago.

"I would like to take this opportunity however to say that the well-being of all children at Winterfold House is our top priority and we have a strong record of pastoral care as detailed in our last inspection report in February 2010."