This paper theorises how politics, economy and migrant population policies influence educational policy, utilising Bourdieusian theoretical resources to analyse the Chinese context. It develops the work of Lingard and Rawolle on cross-field effects and produces an updated three-step analytical framework. Taking the policy issue of the schooling of internal migrant children as an example, it analyses how a range of fields – political, economic and public policy – ‘export’ their logics of practice into the educational policy field (as a sub-field of the public policy field) and consolidate the changes. The cross-field effects shape the state school enrolment policy and the relative positions of agents and the relative value of their capital in the educational policy field. This paper demonstrates the analytical capacity of Bourdieusian theoretical resources for policy analysis in the Chinese context, by illustrating how the inequalities experienced by migrant families have been intensified in education by cross-field effects.