Few sociological analyses of the New Right in the United Kingdom address the interconnections between the rise of the radical right and critical feminist traditions in education. A surprising fact, perhaps, given the evident hostility of Conservative politicians to feminist and anti-racist politics and their explicit references to the ending of the ‘age of egalitarianism’.1 Sophisticated analyses, such as those by Dale (1989), Ball (1990) and Whitty (1990), offer us insights into the various discourses and ideological tendencies of the Conservative government and its party advisers. From their perspective, we are encouraged to see education policy as ‘infused with economic, political and ideological contradictions’ (Ball, 1990, p. 211); a site of struggle between different groups for domination, prestige or economic advantage where the most significant context is the restructuring of capitalism. As Stephen Ball argues:
The [National] curriculum … is a particular focus for contradiction and struggle. The economic provides a context and a ‘vocabulary of motives’ for reform. The overall repositioning and restructuring of education in relation to production is evident.