The use of education as a key variable in locality studies is by no means universal. Although there is a substantial literature on the structure and functions of education, it is difficult to discover succinct definitions which may be effectively utilized in studies outside the field of education. Unlike many other key variables, education is subject to fairly rapid substantive change which, as in the case of length of secondary schooling, may be determined by social legislation rather than individual attitude changes. A series of parliamentary acts and recommendations over the past forty years has brought about fundamental changes in the structure of the system of education. The implementation of current policy decisions will introduce further difficulties when attempts are made to compare those educated yesterday, today and tomorrow.