Minerva Learning Trust

Well Known Alumni

TOM ELLIS - 1990s

Tom is a well-known and successful television and film actor, best known in the UK for his role of Gary in Miranda. In 2014 he moved to the USA to start his television career there. He starred in the USA network series Rush, playing a Hollywood doctor, and in 2015 won the lead role in Lucifer, a highly popular television series.

He has publicly stated that it was his Drama lessons  and experience of putting on shows at the Crucible theatre that inspired him to go into acting. Praise indeed!

His Drama Teacher remembers: “I taught Tom A Level Theatre Studies. He was always clearly very talented, had great charisma and stage presence. It has been really satisfying to watch Tom blossom and follow his career on stage and screen.”

Nick Matthew - 1990s

Nick is a professional Squash player, and reached World Number 1 status in 2010, 2011 and 2013. He won his 3rd British Open title on 20th May 2012, becoming the first Englishman to win the title thrice in the professional era.

In 2013, Nick was honoured with a place in the Sheffield ‘Walk of Fame’.

Kyle Walker – 2000s

Kyle is a professional footballer who plays as right back for is currently playing for Manchester City and the English national team.

He has played for Sheffield United, Northampton Town, Queens Park Rangers, Aston Villa and Tottenham.

Jessica Ransom - 1990/2000s

Jessica is a recognisable television actress. She has starred in The Armstrong and Miller Show, Doc Martin and Horrible Histories, Our Zoo, and TV adverts along side Bruce Willis.

She also has a stand up comedy act and performs regularly on stage.

Her Drama Teacher remembers: “I was Jessica’s form tutor and she was officially one of my ‘babies’. I taught her GCSE Expressive Arts and A Level Theatre Studies. She had a real love of Drama and played a fairy in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ in 1997 and Elizabeth Proctor in ‘The Crucible’ in ‘98.”

Anton Phung - 2000s

Anton was a student at High Storrs in the 2000s and was taught Dance by Ms Lee.

In 2002 he was inspired by the then World Champion Break Dancer ‘Lil Tim’ who put on a show at school. Anton then set out to become a break-dancer.

After leaving school, Anton studied BA Hons Dance at Manchester Met Uni and went on to do choreography as well as winning the prestigious title of World Break Dancing Champion in 2013.

Jack Lester - 1980/1990s

Jack is a professional footballer, currently playing for Chesterfield. His career started at Grimsby Town FC in 1994 and he has played for Doncaster Rovers, Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United.

Ex student and previous member of staff, Richard Downs, said “I was in the same year as Jack. He was very clever at school, as well as being a real hit with the ladies! I always claimed that he learnt his footballing skills from me in our lessons together!”

Sir Andrew Cook CBE - 1968

Sir Andrew Cook CBE is an industrialist, philanthropist, historian and author. He is the owner and Chairman of William Cook, one of Europe's largest steel and engineering groups.

Sir Andrew has cited his time at High Storrs Grammar School for Boys as hugely influential, particularly the rigorous Latin lessons he received at the time. He has been an strong supporter of the school's Save Classics campaign.

Andrew Hawley – 1990s

Andrew studied acting at RSAMD after leaving High Storrs and is now a successful stage, television and film actor.

He got his big break in The History Boys on stage, and has since appeared in film, TV and stage shows. He recently appeared in the Sky TV series Borgia.

In 2015 we were thrilled when Andrew agreed to come back to school to inspire our Year 12s with a career talk about acting.

Paul Heiney – 1960s

Paul attended High Storrs Grammar School for Boys in the 1960s. Paul is a well known television and radio broadcaster who is probably best known for presenting ‘That’s Life!’ in the 1970s and his role in the film ‘In at the Deep End’.

He currently presents ITV’s ‘Countrywise’ and is a much-loved presenter and writer.

Jeff Rawle – 1960s

Jeff attended High Storrs Grammar School in the 1960s.

He is a well known television and film actor who has most recently starred in ‘Hollyoaks’ as Silas Blissett and ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’ as Amos Diggory. He’s a well seasoned actor who first appeared on TV in the 1970s and has rarely been off our screens. Jeff first became interested in drama when he appeared in school plays.

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Kavita Donkersley - 2000s/2010s

Kavita is a self-made highly successful businesswoman who has made a career out of blogging about fashion, beauty and modelling. Her brand, She Wears Fashion, is growing by the day with mentions in magazines and on television.

Kavita is very proud of the fact she did not go to University, instead choosing to make a career out of doing what she loves and being very successful at it.

In recent years, Kavita has reconnected with her old school and has been involved in two Alumni-focused projects at school.

Grace Clough – 2000s

Grace left school in 2009 and immediately took a year out to travel the world. She then studied Sociology at Leeds University. During this time she took an interest in sports in more detail, and, having been born with Erbs Palsy, in particular the Paralympic Games.

She is now an elite athlete for the GB Rowing Team and has graduated from University with a 1st class degree. Grace only took up rowing in late 2013 but is already a Paralympic Gold medalist and double World Champion.

Annie Ashcroft - 2000s

Annie is one of 3 girls in the group M.O. They have signed with Polydor Records, and the group have been nominated for two MOBO awards. In recent years the school has been lucky enough for Annie and the group to come into school and perform for the students.

Jon Windle – 1990s

Jon is best known as the lead singer and guitarist with the Sheffield band Little Man Tate. The band made 2 very successful albums in the 2000s, as well as touring the UK. They split in 2009.

Jon continues to make music and is now a solo musician releasing albums in 2010 and 2012

Matthew Barley – 1980s

World-renowned cellist, Matthew Barley, left school in the 1980s. He is also the Musical Director of BBC2 TV’s Classical Star programme, and is passionate about education, new music and pioneering community programmes. In 2014 he came in to High Storrs School to give a master-class workshop to some of our students.

He has released many CDs and has undertaken huge UK tours.

Leslie Evans - 1976

Leslie Evans was appointed as Permanent Secretary to the Scottish Government in 2015. In this role, Leslie is the principal policy adviser to the First Minister and Secretary to the Scottish Cabinet. She is also the Principal Accountable Officer for the Scottish Government with personal responsibility for the propriety and regularity of Government finance and for economic, efficient and effective use of all related resources. Leslie is the senior Civil Servant in Scotland and leads more than 5,000 civil servants working for the Scottish Government, supporting development, implementation and communication of government policies, in accordance with the Civil Service Code.

Julian Bell – 1970s

Julian is a Labour Party counsellor, and is currently the leader of the London borough of Ealing.

He came to school at High Storrs from 1971 to 1977. We discovered Julian was an ex-student of High Storrs when we launched a campaign to find anyone who remembered Olivia Newton John opening our school’s fete in 1976. Julian came forward and kindly gave us his memories of the day.

John Hancock OBE - 1968

John has had a fantastically successful career, most notably as the CEO of W H Smith, Howden Plc, and the Chairman of the British American Business Council.

He received the OBE for Services to British business interests in North America.

His advice for young people is: "grasp opportunities when they arise - even if they may be inconvenient/uncomfortable. Staying with the status quo is going backwards."

David France (1953-58)

David freely admits he was not one of High Storrs' success stories on leaving with just two GCE O level certificates. But he went on to enjoy successful careers, first as a police officer, then realising his earlier ambition, as a newspaper journalist working on, among other newspapers, The Sheffield Morning Telegraph.

But his working career really took off when he joined BBC Radio Sheffield in 1973. He remained with the BBC for 21 years, retiring from the Corporation as Senior Events Producer at Broadcasting House, in charge of State Events coverage and many other popular programmes.

He is most proud of being the instigator and Project Director of the 1995 Royal British Legion Two Minute Silence campaign to bring about a revival of the practice of a Two Minute Silence at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of November. For this he won the two top PR Industry Awards for that year.