The pupils of an Open-Air School for Delicate Children in the 1950s have a range of medical conditions, including eczema, asthma and malnutrition. They need compassion, care and good teaching. The new Head Teacher, Rupert Pritchard makes a poor impression, his blatant inadequacies posing a threat to standards. His behaviour suggests paraia: a focus on minutiae while key issues are neglected; his isolation for much of the day; and his delusion that a senior teacher is plotting to take his place. He can also be malicious and bullying. The Governing Body, following a damning Inspectors' Report, finally votes to dismiss Pritchard. Already erratic in behaviour, Pritchard's anger w mounts and his personality disintegrates. He vows revenge against all those he perceives as having plotted his downfall.