One of the places one might least expect pupils to be differentiated on social class lines is in the infant school. Yet, Sharp and Green argue, in this excerpt from their study of three classes in Mapledene Infant School, that this is precisely what happens. For in reconciling the individualistic requirement of child-centred education with the constraint of high teacher—pupil ratio and the like, teachers, they claim, adopt a strategy of encouraging ordinary and less able children to 'be busy', while devoting disproportionate amounts of their time to giving individual attention to the able few. The authors conclude that general social class differences are thus confirmed, but are masked at school behind a rhetoric of progressivism.