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 paranoia: 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 now mounts and his personality disintegrates. He vows revenge against all those he perceives as having plotted his downfall.