* David Blunkett, now Education Secretary, was in his second year as an MP after seven years as leader of Sheffield City Council. 1988 was the year of his promotion to the front bench as a junior environment spokesman with responsibility for local government.
* Estelle Morris, now schools standards minister, was a teacher at Sidney Stringer Community College in Coventry and a member of Warwick district council, Ms Morris would not be elected to Parliament for another four years. She felt the effects of the Act first-hand.
* Michael Bichard, now the top education civil servant, was in the middle of a four-year term as chief executive of Gloucestershire County Council. He would arrive at the DFEE via the social security benefits agency.
* Michael Barber, now head of the standards and effectiveness unit, helped to mastermind teachers' response to the Act at the National Union of Teachers, where he stressed the importance of parents' support.
* Chris Woodhead, started the year as chief education adviser for Shropshire and finished it as deputy chief education officer in Devon. He would soon become Chief Executive of the National Curriculum Council.
* David Willetts, now Conservative education spokesman, had left No 10's policy unit two years earlier and was pursuing his political career at the right-wing Centre for Policy Studies. He was also deputy director of Retirement Security Ltd and Electra Corporate Ventures.
* Don Foster, now Liberal Democrat education spokesman, also experienced the reforms first-hand but in higher education. He was a science education lecturer in Bristol when the Act became law. He also led the Liberal Democrats on Avon County Council and chaired the education committee.