For most people the dominant feature of the ecology of education is the school. It is a feature that impinges most strongly on their consciousness, involving them inescapably for some of the most formative years of their lives. The experience of it influences much of what happens to them throughout their lives; their perception of education as a whole is crucially determined by it. For the education service too the school is its focal point. It is here that by far the greatest concentration of resources is assembled – it is the core of educational provision to which all education that precedes it is preparatory and all that follows is consequential.