Despite the group of Newly Arrived Migrant Students (NAMS) being very diverse, their educational outcomes are homogeneous and rather weak in many countries. In Flanders (Belgium) the educational trajectory of NAMS starts in a separate program that prepares them for their transition to regular secondary education. Rather than seeing the outcomes of reception education as the result of the behaviour of individual teachers and students, we argue that this problem should be addressed using a field approach that directs attention to the structural relationships between reception education and regular education. We rely on Bourdieu’s agency-structure bridging concept of social fields to reveal this relative position and the implicit assumptions or doxa that sustain it. Administrative data on teachers and students in secondary education, as well as policy texts, the transcripts of 37 interviews with teachers and the fieldnotes from the observations of 28 admission councils were analysed.