Schools are but one among many influences on social evolution — and on the physical, intellectual and moral development of children. Nonetheless, schooling is — and is publically perceived to be — a vital symbol of social purpose which affects profoundly the beliefs, culture and language of tomorrow’s adults. Schooling, and the arrangements we make for it, are a social crucible in which our ideas of social justice and purpose are tried and forged. How well schooling serves our evolving vision of social purpose is related to the nature of that purpose, to a complex, rapidly changing social environment, and, not least, to the arrangements we establish for schooling itself. Schooling and social purpose interact with each other in a complex and endless cycle of purpose, meaning, interpretation and action, a sort of hermeneutic cycle of social policy. 1