The small deflection/initial buckling behaviour of elastic, homogeneous plates is characterised by the absence of coupling between in-plane and out-of-plane quantities, i.e. stress couples, shear strains etc. By contrast, heterogeneous plates, of which generally laminated plates are an example, exhibit ‘shell-type’ behaviour in as much as in-plane and out-of-plane quantities are coupled. Reissner and Stavsky were the first to correctly formulate the field equations for such plates. Since that time a large number of papers on the influence of coupling on the behaviour of many different types of laminated structural elements, such as beams, plates and shells have appeared in the literature. However, it appears that until quite recently, the analysis of these structural elements in the presence of a general (Winkler/Pasternak) elastic foundation has not been undertaken.