New kid Scout Allen faces the other pupils’ ridicule for her scruffy appearance and tiredness in class, but Chris quickly recognises that teasing is the least of the girl’s worries. In an attempt to support her troubled family, Scout has been working as a drug courier. Chris offers her paid work at school if she stops running drugs, but leaving her dealer proves far from easy. The teacher isn’t giving up on her so easily, however, and his commitment gets him and the school into seriously hot water.

It’s the worst possible time for Waterloo Road to be getting bad publicity, with a warning notice already served against it, and staff concerned about possible redundancies. Eleanor Chaudry certainly has a lot to answer for – she’s still acting as a spy for Director of Education Richard Whitman, who now has plenty of inside knowledge that could help him close down the school for good.

And election fever reigns as a mock student election brings out everyone’s true political colours – especially those of teachers Eleanor and Tom, between whom sparks fly in more ways than one. Also clashing at first are political opponents Vicki and Jess, but the two finally unite in trying to come to terms with their respective pregnancies by Aiden.