This chapter offers the beginnings of a historical analysis focusing on how the concept of an elite education has been constructed over time. It facilitates critical reflection on what an elite education might mean in England today. Of special interest are the ways in which social and economic change, as well as the broader policy context, shape the purpose of an elite education and therefore the way in which some schools become construed as being elite. The chapter considers the kinds of knowledge that are valued, the importance placed on schools as spaces that facilitate particular kinds of social mixing and the emphasis placed on the academic credentials that are secured through particular forms of schooling. It concludes by considering the extent to which an elite education is best understood as a meritocratic endeavour or a mechanism for maintaining social advantage and invoking social closure over time.