In Britain the boundary between the education system and the community is still a strong one, no doubt for complex historical reasons. In many respects the nineteenth century was the battle-site between church and state for control over the nation’s expanding schools. Those with great power fought among themselves, recognizing that control over the schools was a vital means of influencing the character of the nation and its social structure. The real losers in this battle were those who believed that people, especially working-class people, were able to organize their own education to meet their self-defined needs. In the late twentieth century the nature of the education battlefield is somewhat changed, though as we shall see there are resonances of the past. Discussion of the governance of education needs to differentiate between the various groups who strive for power and influence. In recent years attention has been focused on tensions between central and local government (for example, finance) and between central government and the professionals (for example, the secondary school curriculum). My focus is on the tensions between clients (parents and pupils) and the other major partners, and especially in relation to those forces which are working to weaken the boundary between the education system and the community. 1