A new year at Ragley-on-the-Forest School... It's 1981, the time of Adam and the Ants, Rubik's Cube, the Sony Walkman and the Falklands War, as head teacher Jack Sheffield returns to Ragley-on-the-Forest School for another roller-coaster year. Vera, the ever-efficient school secretary, has to grapple with a new-fangled computer - and enjoys a royal occasion - while Ruby the caretaker rediscovers romance with a Butlin's Redcoat. And for Jack, wedding bells are in the air. But the unexpected is just round the corner...
As the 1982 school year begins, Jack Sheffield returns to Ragley village school for his sixth year as headteacher. Nora Pratt celebrates 25 years in her coffee shop, Ronnie Smith finally tries to get a job, and little Krystal Entwhistle causes concern in the school Nativity play. It's the time of ET and Greenham Common,. Price William's birth, Fame legwarmers and the puzzling introduction of the 20p piece. Meanwhile, for Jack, the biggest surprise of his life is in store.
It's 1977 and Jack Sheffield is appointed headmaster of a small village primary school in North Yorkshire. So begins Jack's eventful journey through the school year and his attempts to overcome the many problems that face him as a young and inexperienced headmaster. The many colourful characters include Ruby, the 20-stone caretaker with an acute spelling problem; a secretary who worships Margaret Thatcher; a villager who grows giant carrots; a barmaid/parent who requests sex lessons, and a five-year-old boy whose language is colourful in the extreme.
1984 - and it's an important time for the children of Ragley-on-the Forest school...Their school choir is to sing a carol in a church in York, and it's actually going to be on television! Helping to keep his excited children, not to mention their parents, under control during these momentous events taxes Jack and his staff to the limit. And at the same time, Jack has his own problems to deal with....
As the new school year begins, Jack Sheffield prepares for an even more eventful year than usual. A new teacher is appointed, and before long tongues start to wag. Meanwhile, five-year-old Madona Fazackerly makes her mark in an unexpected way, life changes dramatically for Ruby the caretaker, and, in the village Coffee Shop, Dorothy Humpleby plans a dirty weekend. It’s 1983 - the era of the new CD player, Microsoft Word, the McDonalds McNugget, Cabbage Patch dolls, the threat of a miners’ strike and a final farewell to the halfpenny piece. Jack has to manage a year of triumph and tragedy….
It's 1979: Dallas is enthralling the nation on TV, Mrs Thatcher has just become prime minister, Abba is top of the pops, and in the small Yorkshire village of Ragley-on-the-Forest, Jack Sheffield returns for his third year as headmaster of the village school. Jack and his staff struggle to keep a semblance of normality throughout the turbulence of the school terms, as once again the official School Log fails to record what is really going on beneath the seemingly quiet routine.
It's 1978, and Jack Sheffield begins his second year as headmaster of a small village primary school in North Yorkshire. There are three letters on his desk - one makes him smile, one makes him sad, and one is destined to change his life forever. This is from nine-year-old Sebastian, suffering from leukaemia in the local hospital, who writes a heartbreaking letter addressed to "Mister Teacher". Jack tries to help, and so begins a journey through the seasons of Yorkshire life, in which the school is the natural centre of the community.
It's 1980: recession and unemployment have hit Britain, a royal wedding is on the way, and the whole country is wondering Who Shot JR? As Jack returns for his fourth year at Ragley-on-the Forest School, there's a definite chill in the air. Village schools are being closed down all over the place - will his be one of them?