The story is told of the time traveller from the last year of the nineteenth century visiting his hometown one century into the future. Bewildered by the scale and nature of the social landscape, he finds a reassuring stability when he visits a school. Many of the structures are familiar; teachers and students occupy familiar roles and the curriculum contains much that is known to him. Most changes are mainly superficial and his delight is enhanced by learning of the ‘back to basics’ movement and the public nostalgia for bygone times when there was rigour, discipline and a commitment to standards. He is, however, bemused to discover, despite the scale of social upheaval, that the school has come to occupy a more and more central place in the society of 2000. He is also puzzled by a heightened expectation on schools and teachers to compensate for the perceived failures of church, family and social services.