We would like to thank first the teachers, headteachers and students who participated in the VITAE research project which forms a basis for this book. We wish to thank also those in the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) who were responsible for creating the opportunity for the research to be carried out. There are relatively few longitudinal government funded national educational studies in England which seek to understand more closely the complex contexts in which policies are implemented. There are many individuals, also, who made valuable direct and indirect contributions to our thinking, and we have acknowledged them in our report of the research. However, we wish to acknowledge again the unstinting support of Hayley McCalla, who patiently incorporated the many major and minor amendments to the text and whose commitment, resilience and effectiveness was an example to us all.