This paper examines the extent to which the UK government's full service extended schools programme has the capacity to ameliorate educational inequality in urban contexts. It starts by examining a variety of explanatory narratives for educational inequality in urban contexts in the UK and suggests that the dynamics of social exclusion created by urban decline has generated particular types of polarised urban communities whose analysis has often been decoupled from research on educational reform programmes in urban schools. The paper argues for the need to re-couple educational process with the dynamics of urban context and suggests that the most recent educational policy development of full service extended schools (FSES) may present distinctive opportunities to complete such a synthesis. The paper then locates FSES within a broader set of government approaches that attempt to deal with social exclusion and educational disadvantage. It then draws on research conducted by the authors and others that has examined notions of FSES in the UK and beyond. It will argue that at present the evidence for the capacity of such an initiative to synthesise effectively educational process with the dynamics of urban context and hence resolve successfully the problems of educational inequality in such contexts is at best inconclusive.