Claims that disgraced television presenter Jimmy Savile abused children in more than 20 children's homes and schools across England are to be investigated.

It includes a Bournemouth children's home, the name of which has not been revealed.

Allegations dating back to the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s have been handed to the Department for Education (DfE) following a review of documents by the Metropolitan Police.

Local authorities and other relevant institutions have been asked to further investigate the claims, Education Secretary Michael Gove said in a written statement.

Jane Portman, executive director for Adults & Children at Bournemouth Council, said: “On Tuesday we were advised by the Department for Education about an alleged historical incident in a children’s home in the Bournemouth area. 

"This incident is believed to be isolated and relates to Jimmy Savile.  It has been referred to us as part of the Metropolitan Police’s national Operation Yewtree.

“We are very concerned to hear of this allegation and are treating its investigation as an urgent priority.

"Our aim is to establish the facts surrounding the allegation and whether there is any implication for current policy and practice.  We will then publish a report which indicates what the investigation covered, any findings and any conclusions reached.

“We fully expect that report to be made available to the public, unless exceptional circumstances apply.

“We must reassure local people that practices to protect children from harm are very different now to the time in which the alleged incident is understood to have taken place. 

"However, we will welcome any recommendations that may arise from the investigation that could further enhance child protection.”

Jimmy Savile had several links to Bournemouth. He bought a flat on the East Cliff and moved in during April 1972.

He kept the flat and visited occasionally where he was often seen running along the promenade.

The flat was reportedly sold for charity when he died in 2011, aged 84.

Savile also once owned the popular Bournemouth cafe Norwegian Wood in Glen Fern Road and surrounding buildings.

He also worked as a public relations consultant for the Maison Royale/Le Cardinal nightclub complex on Glen Fern Road from 1973 until 1978.

Among children's homes and schools to be further investigated are Henshaw School for the Blind, one of four institutions in Savile's birthplace of Leeds, and a Barnardo's children's home in the London Borough of Redbridge.

Children's homes and schools in focus are spread across England, including Bournemouth, Devon, Gloucestershire, Leeds, London and Manchester among others.

Mr Gove said that, to ensure consistency with the NHS Savile investigations, he would repeat arrangements put in place by the Department of Health to oversee the new inquiries.

Human rights lawyer Lucy Scott-Moncrieff will oversee the process, undertaking a similar role to Kate Lampard in the NHS trust investigations, he added.

''I have asked Lucy Scott-Moncrieff to ensure that investigating organisations take all practicable steps to establish what happened and why at the time of the incidents, and any lessons there might be to inform current safeguarding practice in our schools and children's homes,'' Mr Gove said.