This important account of the experiences of schooling of the pupils in a single comprehensive school is based on three years' field work which Stephen J. Ball spent as participant observer at 'Beachside Comprehensive'. First published in 1981, it is an institutional study in the tradition of Colin Lacey's Hightown Grammar and David Hargreaves' Social Relations in a Secondary School, and provides a deep and dynamic portrayal of a school in the process of radical change. Dr Ball raises important questions about the practice of comprehensive education through a detailed examination of the processes of selection and socialsation experienced by two cohorts of pupils moving through the school, one banded and the other taught in mixed-ability classes. This also reveals the way in which teachers confronted the problems of teaching mixed-ability classes and illustrates the enormous gap which existed between the rhetoric and the reality of comprehensive education. The book will be of interest to teachers and students of sociology and education, to school teachers and others concerned about the organisation of schools and educational policy.