Chinese media say eight students have been killed and 26 others injured in a school stampede in the central province of Hunan.

The reports say the students were leaving evening study sessions at 9:10 p.m. Monday night at Xiangxiang city's private Yucai Middle School when one fell on the steps, bringing down others.

City authorities immediately removed Xiangxiang's education bureau head and were questioning school officials as part of an investigation.

Such schools tend to have large class sizes but poor emergency exits and other safety features. Evening revision sessions are a standard requirement for advancement in China's grueling, exam-centered education system.