Moran, in his Guide to Australian TV Series, summarises the program's concept as follows:
Fanny Crowe is a young woman brought to the colony as a governess by the Female Middle Class Emigration Society. They want her to establish a school in the town as required by a bequest set aside for that purpose. The only available building is what was formerly an old hotel, dilapidated and said to be haunted by the ghost of Maria Blackburn, a murdered mother of three. Not to be deterred, Fanny sets about establishing the school with the townspeople all against her. Her only allies are the blacksmith, Joseph McCormack, and the local clergyman, the Rev. Dalton.
As Moran notes, The Haunted School is in many ways a companion text to Golden Pennies: both co-productions between the ABC and Revcom, the two series used a number of the same crew members, and both starred British actress Carol Drinkwater.
Moran emphasises that although this production did not draw the ire of Actors Equity (which had objected to the casting of Drinkwater and fellow British actor Bryan Marshall in the lead roles in Golden Pennies), it did anger the Australian Writers' Guild: 'The producers claimed that they could not find an Australian writer for the series and so had to turn to English writer Helen Cresswell, a friend of Carol Drinkwater. The Guild disputed this but the production went ahead anyway. Cresswell later produced a novelisation of the series.'