In this ethnographic study of a secondary school in the UK, the author presents an incisive account of school life from the various points of view of the pupils, teachers and parents. He describes and analyses major areas of experience and methods of adapting to school for both the children and their teachers; school experience is shown to be widely varying from boredom, despair and humiliation, to gaiety, exultation and comradeship some of it officially and some of it unofficially sponsored. The description reveals a number of marked and interpenetrating divisions within schools: between teachers and pupils, parents and teachers, parents and children and between pupils themselves. These divisions are explored, analysed and related both to institutional factors and to factors outside the school. The study suggests how these factors influence pupil and teacher strategies, and hence how the details of school life relates to wider society.