Waterloo Road Comprehensive isn't doing very well. Many of the teachers feel that their job is pointless, and the pupils couldn't care less about their education. When the Headteacher of the school has a nervous breakdown, Jack Rimmer is promoted to the position, much to his dismay. He knows that if the school doesn't clean up its act soon, it could mean the end. So he decides to hire optimistic teacher Andrew Treneman, who gives up his private school teaching job, in order to improve the situation of Waterloo Road. Andrew is certain that with strict discipline and a house system, things will get better. Together with lively Guidance Head, Kim Campbell, the three teachers begin the process of turning around the failing school, painful step by painful step.