Keywords: Educational Differentiation; Social Class; Education Policy; Inequality; Social Segregation
There is overwhelming evidence that England's education system is built on and sustains complex patterns of inequality. A 'comprehensive' system, introduced in 1965, was never fully implemented and so remains as an aspiration rather than a reality. Focusing mainly on the social, economic and political aspects of comprehensive schooling rather than matters relating to the curriculum and teaching, this paper outlines the current state of comprehensive education and its link to inequality levels in English schools. It seeks to provide some underlying reasons for this state of affairs: legacy thinking concerning educational differentiation and the role that govern-ment policy makers have played in creating a weak form of comprehensivisation and then, though an emphasis on school diversity, competition and parental 'choice', weakening the system further.