The question of what historians are doing to promote the study of urban education has a particular force and urgency in view of contemporary preoccupations. The problems of urban schooling are manifestly a cause of much anxiety. There has been a proliferation of writings about them in Britain as in other older urbanized countries. However, the contemporary debate is generally lacking in historical perspective; it reflects in the main a recent concern with problems that have arisen especially acutely in the inner districts of modern cities. Thus urban education has become a focus for discussion about such controversial issues as compensatory education, resource allocation and priority areas, community education and ‘open schooling,’ and education for multi-racial groups. Many of the writings on such matters are in effect urban reform tracts, some of them calling into question the assumptions which have informed urban policies as well as educational and curriculum policies in the post war years. Yet there have been relatively few attempts to promote more formal studies of the urban processes affecting education, or to develop perspectives on the ideological viewpoints expressed by current prescriptions for urban schools.