School SH was an effective school in many ways, but it had failed to foster in its students a sense of aspiration and ambition that went beyond the  constraints of their community. The school was in the suburbs of a large city. The students rarely travelled into the city centre, or used any amenities outside a 5 mile radius of the school and home.The school recruited very few students from outside its immediate locality. However it was an improving institution and students were beginning to achieve increasingly highly. James was a particularly bright boy, who was benefiting from the school’s improvement. He left school in Year 11 with ten GCSEs, all As or Bs, achievement which was an accurate reflection of his ability. There was no 6th form at the school, and most of the school’s students went to the nearest FE college, although it was by no means the best. James took three ‘A’ Levels, and was doing very well in all of them.Two of them were not his first choices, but the institution did not offer the subjects he had originally wanted to. James was predicted ‘A’grades in his ‘A’ Levels, and decided he wanted to do a Media degree. The university in the city did have a Media course, but it did not have a good reputation. The entry requirement was 3 ‘C’s at ‘A’ Level. However, because of the limited aspirations of James’ peers, it never occurred to him to go anywhere else. His parents were proud he was going to university, and were not informed enough to know that there were other courses that might have been better. James got the required grades and went to study Media at the city’s university. He is doing very well. However, in the competitive media workplace, he will not have the head start of having been on a  more prestigious course at a higher profile university. Although he went to an improving school, its inability to challenge provincial horizons hampered James’ chances of future success

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