Education is an important social mobility route; those with higher and better degrees enjoy greater occupational success and acquire greater wealth over the course of their lives. The chapter focuses on the trajectories of students of lower socio-economic status (SES) backgrounds and we examine the specific barriers they face. It reviews work showing that the path to a good educational outcome is more difficult for lower SES students than it is for students from higher SES backgrounds. The chapter also focuses on changes that have been implemented in the Chinese education system allowing children of migrant country-workers – a severely disadvantaged group in large Chinese cities – to enrol, for the first time, in mainstream public primary schools. It concludes that the social system must be brought back into the analysis of examining educational outcomes and experiences through the examination of socio-structural characteristics within educational systems.