The main aim of this book, based partly upon the author’s own research, is to question the received wisdom of the 1990s that educational participation and performance have become increasingly polarised as a result of market reforms pursued during that period; the author seeks to disprove and even reverse some of these views. In the first chapter the author sets his scene by quoting ‘evidence’ from various sources about how English and Welsh students perform poorly on international comparisons and how performance has deteriorated over time. He then claims that existing interpretations of data are flawed on the basis of three alternative interpretations. The first involves essentially a presentation of numerical comparisons of percentages on a multiplicative rather than arithmetic basis, what he calls ‘proportionate analysis’. He seems totally unaware that debates about how to present such comparisons have a long history and include a much wider discussion than the superficial justification given in this book, and there is no universally best method. The second point he makes is that comparisons, especially those over time, must take into account any underlying population changes; sensible but hardly new. The third is that raw comparisons of performance are misleading and that ‘value added’ analyses are needed. Again, this is hardly new. The rest of the book applies these interpretations to data, and I shall consider each one in turn and whether Gorard’s reanalysis does takes the debate forward.