Well, this is surprising. With Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures long over, Doctor Who has been a standalone show for a while... until now. Next year, the series is getting a brand new spinoff: and it’s all about the kids at Clara’s school, Coal Hill.

Class will broadcast in the UK on BBC 3, and is written by YA novelist Patrick Ness, best known for the Chaos Walking trilogy... and it sounds like the strangest premise for a Who spinoff. No familiar characters were announced, just that the series will follow teenage students at Coal Hill School (where companions Ian, Barbara, and now Clara have all worked as teachers) in the wild world of Doctor Who, where monsters and alien shenanigans are threatening the world on a daily basis. Here’s Steven Moffat on the premise:

No one has documented the dark and exhilarating world of the teenager like Patrick Ness, and now we’re bringing his brilliant story-telling into Doctor Who. This is growing up in modern Britain - but with monsters!

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And then Ness himself, on his first TV series:

I’m astounded and thrilled to be entering the Doctor Who universe, which is as vast as time and space itself. There’s so much room there for all kinds of amazing stories, and to work with Steven Moffat and Brian Minchin to find a place to tell one of my own has been an absolute joy. I can’t wait for people to meet the heroes of Class, to meet the all-new villains and aliens, to remember that the horrors of the darkest corners of existence are just about on par with having to pass your A-Levels.

Huh. This sounds really weird. Maybe Clara will show up before she leaves the main series? Who knows!

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Class will have a series of 8, 45-minute long episodes that will air sometime next year. Who producers Steven Moffat and Brian Minchin will produce the series, perhaps lending credence to the rumors that Doctor Who itself will not return next year for a full series.

We’ll bring you more on Class as it’s revealed.