In this paper we discuss the problem of the overburdening of pupils in schools or from school, using data from international studies which allow a comparison of Slovene pupils with those from other countries. Through interpreting the data, which do not indicate a cogent empirical basis for a belief in excessive burdening, we outline the professional and political context of the prevailing pedagogical theories and the demands of a mature capitalist society on the individual, and demonstrate why they lead to the belief that pupils are overburdened with schoolwork. If the reproduction of the existing social conditions is one of the fundamental functions of school institutions, then the effects of the discourse about overburdening and the "repressiveness? of school must also be analysed from this viewpoint, whereby its hidden and less desirable aspects are revealed. This discourse, when connected with permissive pedagogical discourse, results in the reduction of the concrete learning demands on children, which has the most radical effect on children from culturally underprivileged environments, whose social position is to a great extent dependent on the very realisation of the subversive potential of school knowledge.