The British experience of religious education is sometimes held up as a model of intercultural achievement. It is true that RE has changed dramatically in Britain, partly (and in terms of temporal sequence, initially) as a result of responses to secularisation (Cox, 1966), partly under the influence of the newly emergent discipline of religious studies in the late 1960s and early 1970s (Smart, 1967, 1968; Schools Council, 1971; Hinnells, 1970) and partly in acknowledgment of the increasingly multi-faith and multicultural nature of society (see, for example, Cole, 1972). However, the transition has not been easy and, as we shall see, there have been some ideological contests in the background. Since the mid-1980s, when Thatcherism was at its most potent, there has been a right-wing backlash against any form of ‘multiculturalism’ in education and beyond. There are several educational pressure groups dedicated to preserving what they see as Britain’s Christian cultural heritage and what are perceived as the old moral certainties that used to keep society well ordered.1 Britain’s past is portrayed romantically, with a stable and bounded culture. Cultures are portrayed as fixed and closed, and migrant groups and their descendants are usually pictured as of alien culture and religion, a potential threat to the nation’s heritage and way of life (see, for example, McIntyre, 1978). Religious educators who have supported multifaith approaches tend to be regarded as ‘progressives’ with their roots in the trendy 1960s, promoting a relativism that is dismissive of any claims to truth (Burn and Hart, 1988).2 During the period of Conservative rule, and especially between 1988 and 1994, some of these radical right groups managed occasionally to exert some influence on government policy and legislation. However, the combined professional voices in religious education prevailed,3 and they had the support of varied faith groups, including the Church of England Board of Education (see, for example, Brown, 1995). The contest will no doubt go on, though, since May 1997, in a different political climate for the foreseeable future.