When they returned from their Christmas break pupils at a private school in a wealthy Madrid suburb were astonished to find its entire teaching staff had been replaced by priests.
"I thought they were shooting a film," said one 10-year-old. Parents were not told that the school in Pozuelo had been sold in the holidays to the Lumen Dei religious order.
The school's previous owner said the sale had been forced on him for financial reasons.
But it caused an uproar with one parent saying her child had returned home in tears saying she "couldn't feel God."
The Madrid education authority has now stepped in and ordered the school's new owners to continue with the original staff and curriculum until the end of the school year.