PUPILS at an Edgware primary school put down their exercise books today to investigate a series of mysterious incidents.

When children came into Stag Lane Middle School, in Collier Drive, this morning they found a small section of their playing field cordoned off behind police tape and a forensic expert taking samples from strange markings on the grass.

Teachers have spent the last two weeks mocking up “alien” hand prints, as well as strange symbols, and todays stunt forms the final chapter of an exercise staff hope will stimulate their imagination and teach creative writing skills.

Elena Evans, headteacher at the school, said: “We think learning should be exciting and they also write better when they have practical things to write about.”

All 300 pupils of the Middle School have been involved and different classes are being given different exercises designed for their learning ability.

The older pupils will write a full report on the incident after helping with the police “investigation,” while younger classes will take less advanced challenges.

Donte Nelson, 10, of Edgware, said: “I'm not scared of the alien because I'll keep it and put it in my pocket. They've got big heads and small bodies.”

Eve Powell, a Stag Lane art teacher, said she plans to base her own lessons around the project.

She said: “We try to get the children to learn for themselves and it's hard to do that without a lot of practical stuff.

“It's stimulated their imagination and just seeing the excitement on their faces is great.”

Police and community support officers from Edgware Safer Neighbourhoods Team joined in, giving pupils the chance to quiz them during a press conference in the school's assembly hall.

PCSO Mandy Ward said: “Obviously our biggest aim is for these kids to know us by name.

“There has been a new intake this year so we always try and do something with the new kids.”

Both police and teachers told children they were safe and Ms Evans told the assembly she thought the markings and hand prints were a prank.

At the end of the day the whole school will be told the events were faked and Ms Evans said she hoped the exercise would teach the children to question what they see.

She said: “We are not going to let the children go home being worried. We know them very well and we know at the end of the day we are going to make this a learning point.”