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Who's who

* Estelle Morris

Age: 46

New job: Minister of State for School Standards.

Old job: Education junior minister responsible for national curriculum, early years, specialist schools, special needs, teacher training, discipline, truancy, school meals and transport.

Education: Whalley Range High School, Manchester, Coventry College of Education, Warwick University.

Background: Born into a Labour party dynasty. Her father and uncle were both MPs. Head of sixth-form studies at Sydney Stringer Community School. Began her political career in the Midlands where she became Labour Group leader on Warwick District Council and was selected for Yardley, Birmingham in 1992.

Joined David Blunkett's team as opposition spokesperson on education, with a wary eye on her 162 majority. Since last election, more relaxed with a 5,315 majority.

Record: Trusted by David Blunkett, Ms Morris earned her education spurs in Opposition and has since, as a minister, with her predecessor Stephen Byers, steered through Parliament the Government's flagshiplegislation lowering class size and introducing tuition fees.

Less pushy and not as media savvy as Mr Byers, she occasionally found herself doing all the work, for example on exclusions, only to find herself out-manoeuvred in receiving the glory.

She may not want to put to the top of her CV her time as a parliamentary adviser to the National Union of Teachers. However, she remains a sympathetic figure to teachers. Has an assured presence on the floor of the Commons and her reasonable demeanour has a disarming effect. Won plaudits for her Green Paper on special needs.

Traits: Described by Andrew Roth's gossipy profiles as: "Slim, 5'6, looks like her mother, but has her father's equable temperament: has a will of steel. " No record of having any hobbies, but is a fan of 'The Archers'.

* Charles Clarke

Age: 47

New job: Parliamentary Under Secretary for School Standards.

Old Job: New intake of 1997.

Education: Highgate School, King's College, Cambridge.

Background: Former chief of staff of Neil Kinnock (1983-92) and Hackney councillor. President of the National Union of Students (1975-77) and a councillor in the London Borough of Hackney from 1980 until 1996.

Described as a shrewd and able politician and effective fixer. A burly, bearded heavyweight politician. Son of Sir Richard Clarke, former permanent secretary at the Ministry of Technology.

Before being elected was chief executive of management consultancy Quality Public Affairs. Grew out of Marxist student phase, moving to respectable Labour right and has the nous to conform to Blair mould. Likes playing chess, walking and reading.

* Margaret Hodge

Age: 53 New job: Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Employment and Equal Opportunities.

Old job: House of Commons education Select Committee chair.

Education: Bromley High School, Oxford High School,London School of Economics.

Background: Former leader of London Borough of Islington council, and senior consultant at Price Waterhouse. Vulnerable to taunts from Opposition MPs over scandals and record of Islington.

Record: High-profile Select Committee chair and responsible for influential reports on further education and teacher recruitment. Reputation for flying controversial kites. Called for fewer, better-paid teachers, upsetting Stephen Byers and Chris Woodhead. Also noted for her committee's hostile grilling of the Chief Inspector.

Traits: Lively, Blair loyalist and long-term friend of David Blunkett.

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