Education policy in England underwent major reform thirty years ago in terms of provision, curriculum, funding and management. City Technology Colleges (CTCs), proposed in 1986, embodied many of these changes. CTCs were a new type of school within the state system, with control over their own funding, admissions and operations; they were intended to have a technology focus within a broad curriculum and were partially funded and managed by industry. This presentation aims to connect the broader 1980s conservative ideas about choice and diversity, the aims and purposes of education, and management and funding, to those that fed specifically into the CTC policy. In order to understand this better, the composite elements of the CTC policy and the ideas referenced by actors introducing the policy are examined to determine how they reflect continuity in ideas and language. This presentation also considers the influence of ideas used by external interest groups on internal Conservative Government policy discussion.