In section 4 of Chapter 2 we noted a wide range of ideas connected with a broad notion of fraternity which often appeared in the rhetoric, and indeed sometimes the argument, supporting mixed ability grouping. We suggested there that this cluster of ideas, though often confiated with ideas of equality and social justice, was actually about something else more to do with a positive valuing of social integration and feelings of community as things to be approved of in their own right. Thus, as we pointed out, segregation of pupils into groups based upon specific abilities was seen by some teachers as deplorable, not solely because such differentiation represented the injustice of unjustifiably different treatment, but simply because it acted to support social divisiveness and against the possibility of social cohesiveness and mutually supportive co-operation. Sometimes this idea is part of a wider socio-political spectrum in which present-day society is seen as damagingly competitive, divisive and alienating, and educational arrangements of a comprehensive school and mixed ability grouping kind are seen as means of combating this state of affairs. The quotations from Crosland given in Chapter 2 appear to embrace this range of considerations. Here was at least one protagonist plainly concerned to break down divisions between schools, and within them, with the avowed object of breaking down the divisions of social class in the wider society. Social philosophers, too, have valued the idea of fraternity. We noted in the last chapter, when discussing John Rawls's criticism of the idea of equality of opportunity, that
such an idea was indeed to be criticised precisely because it acted against the idea of fraternity by making a fraternal society more difficult to achieve.