George Harpole is reluctantly forced to take on the role of temporary headteacher of St. Nicholas C.E. (Assisted) Primary School in Tamppling, a small town somewhere in the English Midlands. His staff consist of elderly, inflexible Mr. Pintle, stuffy, snobbish Mrs Grindle-Jones, smug young Mr. Croser, eccentric Miss Tollemache, and a young temporary teacher fresh from Cambridge, Emma Foxberrow, who holds strong progressive views on education and everything else, not to mention Mr Theaker, the dreaded School Caretaker. During his time as headteacher, Harpole valiantly tackles a number of tricky problems involving teachers, pupils, parents, school governors and various other people. He manages to reform a bullying father, do away with the 'Backwards' class, persuade Miss Foxberrow to run the school sports day, and even outwit the dreadful Mr Theaker on a couple of occasions. He tackles a terrible family called the Widmerpools, who consist of eleven children, their parents, and Alfred, a mysterious man who spends all his time washing the family's clothes. 'It is enough that I have the Washing' he tells Harpole.The book is told in the fomr of entries from Harpole's journal, comments on the journal made by an independent educaiton expert, and letters between Harpole and various other characters. It is an achingly funny book, with wonderful characters, hilarious dialogue, outrageous situations, and laughs on every page. One of the funniest books I've ever read.