A primary school was forced to close its doors after an outbreak of venomous spiders.

Highfield Primary School in Enfield closed earlier this week due to an “infestation” of false widow spiders.

Several other schools across east and north London have also been forced to shut down lessons since last week.

Hundreds of schoolchildren have been told to stay home after the presence of the creepy crawly was discovered.

Many parents have called the decision to shut schools “over the top” and “ridiculous”.

The eight-legged Steatoda Nobilis, commonly known as the noble false widow, usually start to appear each autumn in households across the UK.

Despite resembling the more dangerous black widow spider, all these spiders are capable of delivering is a small and relatively harmless bite – according to the Natural History Museum.

They can grow between 8.5 and 11 millimetres in length, they have globular bodies and similar markings to the more deadly black widow.

They were first recorded in the UK in the 1870s and were likely stowaways on cargo ships from their native Madeira and Canary Islands.

An Enfield Council spokesperson said: “The decision to close Highfield School was made at the headteacher’s discretion. The site is being treated by an external company. We share the view of Public Health England and pest control advisers, who do not see school closures as necessary and the spiders do not pose a significant health risk.

“However, we will endeavour to support the school and its staff as much as possible by remaining in close contact. Children have been given the resources to continue their learning at home, and we expect the school to reopen as soon as possible."