Radical deregulatory reforms are intuitively appealing, and may produce important long-term benefits that increase levels of parental satisfaction with the schooling system. However, it is important to note that they are very risky since some ‘innovations’ would necessarily fail. Therefore, to enable market-based reforms to work in England, society would have to come to terms with greater levels of school failure than exist under a tightly regulated system. And policy makers would need to work to ensure that critical regulatory measures are in place to ensure that the life chances are not damaged for children who happen to find themselves in failing schools.