Holy Trinity Primary School
A primary school headteacher has been forced to apologise after terrifying children with a giant 'alien egg'.
Pupils were left in tears after the discovery and told their parents they were too scared to go to school.
But it turned out the egg was part of a problem solving exercise.
However, mums and dads thought the alien was no laughing matter and complained to the school.
The saga at Holy Trinity Primary School in Halstead, Essex, revolved around a 3ft-high egg 'found' in undergrowth on school grounds and was part of a problem solving exercise.
Despite assurances that the 'amazing discovery' was '100 per cent safe', some of the school's 250 pupils were so frightened by the egg that headmaster Jon Smith had to issue an apology after parents reported their children were distressed, and even suffering from nightmares.
As part of the project, which took place last month, parents were sent letter reporting how the egg had been found, and that a scientist from the 'National Museum Of Strange Objects' was coming to investigate it.
Mr Smith wrote in his mock alert: "I am pleased to inform you that the inspection has confirmed that the area and object are 100 per cent safe and pose no threat whatsoever to the public.
"What still isn't clear however, is the identity of the object."
He then said that the museum's Dr Violet Strangeways had asked that all children 'remain vigilant and put all their energies into research and investigation in order to help the museum ascertain the origins of this amazing discovery'.
As part of the project, the children had to question where the egg might have come from, drawing pictures and writing essays on its provenance, with parents kept up to date on their project.
However, a post on the school's Facebook page and Twitter account soon began attracting comments from some parents who reported that their children had been frightened.
One parent wrote:"'@HTPSHalstead tell me I'm not the only parent whose child hasn't eaten lunch & has been in tears about the 'discovery'? Prank too far?"
Another added:"'@HTPSHalstead glad you said that my son does not want to go to school anymore and has been in tears since he come home #nothappy."
Although the majority of parents writing on the school's Facebook page said their children had been excited by the project, with the pupils speculating that the egg could be that of a dinosaur or dragon, others said that some younger children had been scared by it.
One commented: "He is scared of his own shadow and has been to sleep earlier but woke up at 9.20pm after having a nightmare!"
Others said their children had been afraid to go to bed, with one mother writing: "Holy trinity..........i hope this doesn't go on all week!!!!! I'm gona have 2 tired children!!!!!!!"
Within hours of the initial post, Mr Smith had issued another letter, apologising to parents if their children had been upset by the egg.
He said: "It has come to our attention that whilst the vast majority of the children at school were excited and engaged by this morning's 'discovery' there are some who have been worried by it.
"We assure you that this afternoon we held an extra whole school assembly where we made it absolutely clear to everyone that the egg was of no danger to anyone, that it was safe to keep in school, and that we would therefore be able to observe it further tomorrow.
"We apologise if that message did not come through sufficiently and, as planned, in the follow-up assembly in the morning we will place further emphasis on it being of absolutely no danger whatsoever.
"During the course of today the children have produced an enormous amount of high quality work, in a variety of forms, related to the egg and it was great to see them so engaged.
"Such 'discoveries' are quite common in primary schools across the country and are a very successful way of promoting problem solving, teamwork, group discussion and PSHE-related topics. This activity is part of our 'No Problem' theme this term."