Oakwood Alumni

Welcome to the alumni section of the website.

At Oakwood High School, we value our connection with our former pupils.  We share the achievements and experiences of our alumni with pupils, staff and the local community.

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JOHN HAMPSHIRE – An English cricketer and umpire, who played eight tests and three one day Internationals for England between 1969 and 1975. He played first class cricket for Yorkshire from 1961 to 1981, and for Derbyshire from 1982 to 1984. Overseas, he was a successful captain of Tasmania in the period before the state was included in the Sheffield Shield.
He was also appointed President of Yorkshire County Cricket Club in 2016, serving until his death.

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GERVASE PHINN – An English author and educator. After a career as a teacher he became a schools inspector and, latterly, Visiting Professor of Education at the University of Teeside.

He has published five volumes of memoir, collections of poetry and a number of books about education. He has a particular interest in children’s literature and literacy.

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JAMES MAY – An English television presenter and journalist. He is best known as a co-presenter of the motoring programme Top Gear alongside Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond from 2003 until 2015. As of 2016 he is a director of the production company W.Chump & Sons (founded July 2015) and is also a co-presenter in the television series The Grand Tour for Amazon, alongside his former Top Gear colleagues, Clarkson and Hammond, as well as former producer Andy Wilman.

May has presented other programmes on themes including science and technology, toys, wine culture, and the plight of manliness in modern times. He wrote a weekly column for The Daily Telegraphs’s motoring section from 2003 to 2011.

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DEAN ANDREWS – A British actor. He is most famous for his role as DS Ray Carling in the BBC Television drama Life on Mars. He continued the role in the show’s 2008 sequel series, Ashes to Ashes, until 2010. He played Michael Negal, a homeless character who is taken in by Father Brown (The Star of Jacob, 2016) and who turns out to be a talented singer who saves the day when the annual Christmas pageant is threatened. It is suggested that he is an angel and his assistance is heavenly. He also appeared as Steve (Kinchie) Kinchin in BBC two part series of The Moorside 2017.

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JUSTINE GREENING – A British politician of the Conservative Party serving as Secretary of State for Education from 2016–2018. She was elected MP for Putney in the 2005 general election. In 2013, she was listed as one of the 100 most powerful women in the United Kingdom by Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4.

She was appointed Economic Secretary to the Treasury in May 2010 and then Secretary of State for Transport in October 2011. In September 2012, she was replaced by Patrick McLoughlin at the Department for Transport, and became Secretary of State for International Development. On 14 July 2016, she replaced Nicky Morgan as Secretary of State for Education in Theresa May’s first government, a post she held until she resigned in the January 2018 Cabinet reshuffle.

NICK BANKS – A drummer in the British band, Pulp.

Nick started playing drums aged 14 and was inspired by Paul Cook from the Sex Pistols and Blondie’s Clem Burke.

In their early years he saw many of Pulp’s performances in Sheffield and eventually joined the group in 1986. He joined because they were his favourite band.

Banks also played drums in a Sheffield-based band called Pollinates.

Since 2007 he has been managing Banks Pottery, a family-owned business which was previously run by his mother. He also plays regularly in Sheffield’s Everly Pregnant Brothers and remains a member of Pulp.

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JAMES WILSON – The Sleep Lab. Highly motivated Sleep Industry Expert and Qualified Sleep Practitioner who combines an unrivalled knowledge of the sleep product market with work as a practitioner offering sleep coaching to individuals and businesses and sleep training services to many different corporate sectors.

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SIR MICHAEL JOHN TOMLINSON CBE, Former Chief Inspector for Schools, England – The chair of the Working Group for 14-19 Reform which has been commissioned by the British Government to look into reform of the syllabus and qualifications structure for 14- to 19-year-olds in the English education system. He is also a governor of the University of Hertfordshire, a member of the boards of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority and the National Assessment Agency, a member of the Public Engagement group of the Science Museum, and a fellow and a member of the council of the Royal Society of Arts. Since 2008, he has been chief adviser for London Schools in the Department for Children, Schools and Families.

BRIAN HIRST – Ex Rotherham United Football player. Brian was amongst the first intake of students when Oakwood Technology High School for boys opened in 1952. He was the first pupil to play for and Captain Rotherham school boys under 15’s in 1954.  In 1958, Brian signed as a part-time professional for Rotherham United.

HOWARD L SMITH, B.Eng C.Eng MIET (Attended Oakwood from 1955-1959) – Joined the (then) GPO in August 1959 as a Y2YC (a youth 2-year training course) in Rotherham. Promoted to a T2A (Technician Class 2A at 18) in Sheffield HPO (Head Post Office), in Fitzalan Square, to a TO (Technical Officer) at 20, based in Rotherham, then an Instructor Engineering at 23, teaching students how to maintain and adjust technical telecoms equipment, at the GPO’s Central Training School in Stone, Staffordshire. As I had been studying City and Guilds Telecomms subjects for a number of years to Advanced level, I was promoted to an Assistant Executive Engineer at Harrogate in 1968, working on Method Study of engineering practices within the GPO (Post Office Telecoms). In the Spring of 1969, I attended a 4-month Bridging Course, (from CGLI to A-level standard), at Chelmsford Technical College, studying Mathmatics, Electrical Engineering, and Dynamics, so that I could attend university to study Electrical and Electronic Engineering. I got a 3-year bursary award from BT, so was able to study on my full salary for three years, getting a Bachelor of Engineering degree at Sheffield University in 1972. I was then promoted to Executive Engineer and took up a post at the (then) British Telecoms Research Laboratories (now known as Adastral Park), at Martlesham Heath, near Ipswich in Suffolk, working on integrated circuit fabrication on early microprocessor chips. Soon after I became a full Member of the IEE (Institution of Electrical Engineers), and then a Chartered Engineer with CEI (Council of Engineering Institutions). The names of these institutions have now changed slightly, but I am still a full member. In 1977, I returned to Harrogate for a short time, but in 1980 I was seconded to the UK government’s Overseas Development Agency (ODA), as a lecturer in telecommunications to senior students at the School of Posts and Telecommunications, based in Buea, South West Province, of the Republic of Cameroon, West Africa. I was there with my family for two and a half years, returning in June 1982, when I returned to BT. I retired, early, in 1989.

ADELLE LEONCE,  An actress who attended Oakwood from 2001-2006, before going on to RCAT and then Italian Conti to study drama. She has had many roles, notably she was Anna Karenina at the Crucible in Sheffield but also was Amelia in the West end. Adelle has also appeared in a number of television dramas playing Phoebe in Discovery of Witches season 2/3 on Sky,  Anna in Shameless, Ver in Black Mirror, DCI Banks in Ordinary Lies, plus other roles, including a part in Death in Paradise.