The Assisted Places Scheme was introduced in 1980 by the Conservative Government to provide a’ladder of opportunity’ for academically able students from poor homes. Over the next 17 years,more than 75,000 pupils received means-tested assistance from public funds to attend the mostselective and prestigious private schools in England and Wales. The Scheme proved highlycontroversial and was eventually abolished when New Labour came to power in 1997. However, theissue of how best to cater for the academically able child has never really been resolved and therehave been recent calls for initiatives similar to the Assisted Places Scheme to be reintroduced. Thisreport seeks to contribute to the debate through examining the long term legacy of the Schemethrough tracing the progress of some of its beneficiaries.