PUPILS at Robins Lane couldn't believe their eyes when they arrived at school on Tuesday and found the Tardis had crashed into their playground.

Not only that - there were police officers and several dazed historical characters wandering around.

And then, the Doctor himself emerged from the Tardis.

Pupils were asked to gather in the school hall to be addressed by the Doctor, who was in his Matt Smith incarnation, wearing a tweed jacket and red bow-tie.

School head teacher Lisa Howard said: "There was an emergency meeting in the hall where the 'Doctor' explained to children that an evil time lord was trying to erase history. In order to prevent this, children were asked to go on fact finding missions based on the historical characters. By doing that, they were told, they could stop the time lord from erasing history."

The stunt is the school's latest special start-of-term event and it is intended to engage children in learning.

Lisa said: "What we try to do is create what we call a 'wow experience' on the first day of school to really capture the children's imaginations. As our past events have proven, this sort of experience engages the children and completely immerses them in learning. It is something they'll never forget"

Two years ago, Lisa explained, they had three six-foot eggs in the playground with some green slime, all cordoned off, with 'scientists' making notes. This launched topics for the children and led many of them to imagine they were dragon or dinosaur eggs.

This time, inspired by teacher Stuart Taylor, they chose the Doctor Who concept.

Students from Carmel College and Edge Hill played Doctor Who and the historical characters, which included Guy Fawkes, a cavewoman and Queen Elizabeth I.

The full-size Tardis will remain at the school until tomorrow (Friday).

Lisa said: "This experience will link in with most of the subjects on the curriculum, including art and creative writing, for our year one to six pupils."

She added: "Children and parents alike were amazed by what they saw, but they are starting to get used to our start-of-term stunts now so luckily no-one was too alarmed. It's good to do something exciting at the start of term to bring learning to life and unite the school."

She described one boy, who is a particularly gifted writer, who said it had been his "best school day ever".