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Thomas Rennie

Previous School

The Snaith School


Chemistry, Physics, Further Maths

“Part of my decision to study at JLC was the way they do Maths. During the Open Events the staff were very friendly and always willing to help out. Either answer questions on the spot, as they were v

About Me

Thomas is part of our Student Leadership Team, and gets very involved in college life. 

Significant Alumni

After educating the students of North Lincolnshire for more than 40 years, we thought we'd dedicate a web page to some of our successful former students.


CLIVE BALDWIN (1986-1988)

Studied: History, French, Maths, Sociology
Having completed his A-levels at John Leggott College, Clive went on to study History at Leeds University. This was followed by a Masters in Public Affairs in Princeton, USA, then Law in City University, London.
After graduation Clive began work as a solicitor for Bindmans (human rights firm) in London.
Other roles include working for the AIRE Centre (law centre bringing cases to the European Court of Human Rights, working in Kosovo for a few years for the OSCE, then with Minority Rights Group International in London for 5 years.
Clive has been Senior Legal Advisor at Human Rights Watch, Human Rights NGO, since 2007 and is based in New York.



DARREN BETT (1984-1986)

Studied: Maths
Darren Bett is one of the national weather forecasters for the BBC and can often be seen presenting the weather on BBC ONE. Upon leaving John Leggott College, Darren studied Environmental Science at the University of East Anglia before joining the Met Office in 1989. In 1994 he became the local weather forecaster for BBC Look North, before joining the national team in 1997.


JOY CARTER (1986-1988)

Born in Nigeria in 1970, Joy was left abandoned as a baby with her twin sister on a Nigerian roadside, suffering from pneumonia. That was until aid workers from England picked them up and took them to a nearby hospital, where Joy’s sister sadly died. Joy was lucky to survive and was brought to the UK by the Carter family, where she grew up in Leicester until the age of 11. It was then when she moved to Scunthorpe and attended Frederick Gough School. Joy left for London after finishing at John Leggott and took a degree in Theatre design following a short stint at the National Youth Theatre. After years as a dancer and model, Joy has established herself as one of the UK’s upcoming stand-up comediennes and has made numerous television and radio appearances, as well as writing articles on adoption in many newspapers and magazines.
Joy was nominated for an EMMA (Ethnic Multicultural Media Awards) in 2004 for Best Comedy/Comedian.
In March 2009, Joy visited the college for Red Nose Day and as a judge on the panel for the John Leggott College ‘Class Act’ Final. Referring to her time at Leggott, Joy said:

"John Leggott College is to me like a well watered garden, were seeds are planted, growth, fruits and fun gloriously occur. In time its memory has not faded as I am still enjoying all the fruits of my early labours, as I walk through life’s seasons and possess my lands. A truly wonderful time."


ROGER DAVIES (1970-1972)Studied: Science
After 5 years at John Leggott Grammar School, Professor Davies continued his studies at the sixth form, where he studied for A levels. He achieved a BSc (Hons) in Physics from UCL and later a PhD from the Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge University.
Professor Davies remained in academia, researching and working at observatories including Tucson in Arizona. He has also taken a leading role in planning the Gemini Telescopes which are now operating in Hawaii and Chile.
Professor Davies served as, as Head of the Physics Department  at Oxford, and in that role has spoken with top Government figures, including the former  Prime Minister, Gordon Brown on how to encourage more young people to take on Physics at further and higher education level.
Professor Davies returned to John Leggott College during the 40th anniversary celebrations in March 2009. Speaking of his visit, he said:
"I was surprised to learn how many students take Physics at John Leggott College and I was impressed with the questions they put to me."
In May 2010, Professor Davies became President of the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS). Professor Davies will begin his term of office at the 190th Annual General Meeting of the RAS and will serve until May 2012. He comments:
"It is an honour and a privilege to be the new President of the Royal Astronomical Society. More than ever before, we need to make the case for our science, despite the leading position of UK researchers in what has been described as a ‘golden age’ of discovery. I am very proud to be a part of such a vibrant community and look forward to serving them over the next two years."




KEVIN DOYLE (1977-1979)

Studied: English
Kevin Doyle is one of the UK’s most versatile character actors, appearing in numerous British television programmes, as well as performing on Broadway. Kevin has had recurring roles in BBC drama’s Blackpool, Drop Dead Gorgeous and played John Constable in series 3 of The Tudors, as well as guest stints on hugely successful drama’s The Bill, Casualty and Wild at Heart. Kevin also appeared in an episode of Secret Diary Of A Call Girl, with another former Leggott actress Emily Butterfield.
Kevin returned to the college in 2007, 2008 and 2009 to speak to drama students and in 2013 to take part in the Official Opening of our Performing Arts Centre. Reflecting on his time at John Leggott, Kevin stated;

"John Leggott College had a major influence on what I chose to do – the friends I made here and the opportunities I had. While there was no performing arts course, I took part in extra-curricular activities and remember having parts in Macbeth and She Stoops to Conquer."



Profession: Singer/Songwriter
Studied: Music Technology, English Language, Media Studies and Politics
Stephen is one of the UK’s most exciting new music talents and released his second album Man On The Roof in 2007. It hit the UK Top 50 albums and was nominated in the Best Album category at the 2008 Ivor Novello Awards. The album is the follow-up to the Gold selling Magpie album which peaked at No.27 in the UK album chart back in July 2005. Also in 2005 Stephen performed at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire to sell-out crowds. Magpie was recorded in the famous Abbey Road Studios and the song Run on the album is the theme tune to BBC Three’s hit comedy Gavin & Stacey.
Stephen commented about his time at John Leggott earlier in 2008:

"I had a great time at the college and only have good things to say about it. It has good teaching staff and I still keep in touch with my media studies tutor from the college."



Studied: Maths and head of JLC Student Council
Victoria Graham has worked in the media industry since graduating from university in 1994. She immediately gained a 3 month work experience placement in Hollywood with the California Film Commission, where she worked on the film Speed with Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock. After a stint working both behind and in front of the camera at Yorkshire Television, Victoria joined the BBC Weather team in 1998 and was a regular on BBC News 24. Since January 2006 Victoria has been the co-presenter of BBC South West’s news programme Spotlight.


SIMON HARKIN (1975-1977)

Profession: Americas Directorate, Foreign and Commonwealth Office
At the University of Wales Dr Harkin studied for a BA (Hons) in English. He later went on to gain a PhD in Medieval Palaeography (the study of old handwriting). Between 1986-88 Dr Harkin also gained a BA in Theology and Philosophy.
Dr Harkin has had some interesting roles before entering the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1989 thought the Fast Stream New Entrants Programme. These include time spent as a member of the Royal Household, Balmoral Castle, and as a member of the Benedictine monastic community in Sussex.
Working for the FCO has taken Dr Harkin to countries across the globe including Zimbabwe, Switzerland, Mexico and the Falkland Islands. As the Americas Directorate Dr Harkin is responsible for advising minsters on policy regarding South America and managing all British embassies in the region from Columbia in the north to Argentina and Chile in the south.
In May 2009 Dr Harkin returned to John Leggott College and gave a talk to politics students about his current post and how to get a career with the FCO. On the trip he said:

"I very much enjoyed the visit and was, frankly amazed at the transformations which have taken place – from the range of courses which you now cover to the number of students." 


DAVID HUGHES (2000-2002)

Studied: PE, Psychology and Business Studies
David Hughes is one of Great Britain’s leading 110m hurdlers and has represented his country at many athletic events around the world. In 2005 David won the European Under 23 Gold Medal and then gained selection for the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, where he finished in a creditable 7th place. Following on from the Commonwealth success in 2006, David made the semi-finals of the European Championships, but an injury ruled him out of the 2007 season. In 2008 David missed out on a spot on the British team for the Beijing Olympics in August 2008, if he’d have been selected he’d have followed on from hockey player Gillian Brown (Seoul 1988) as a former JLC student competing at an Olympic Games.
In 2009 David has been competing in the 400m event.



MICHAEL KING (1975-1977)

Michael left John Leggott College in 1977 and went onto train at the London School of Contemporary Dance before moving to the USA to work with Houston Ballet for 10 years. His professional career was spent in the theatre choreographing numerous shows before he set up the Pilates Institute in 1999 following his move back to the UK.
Michael now lives in South America and is a full-time Pilates teacher. Speaking of his time at college, he said:

"I think I was the first guy to dance at John Leggott College, which at the time was not easy. This was pre-John Travolta so it was not the norm! It was during my time at John Leggott that I realised dancing could be a career and it was my dance tutor Kay Traviss who really encouraged me to pursue a career in dance. I am amazed at the fantastic dance studio the College currently has. When I attended the college there was a constant fight with the sports department over the use of the gym! We often ended up dancing in the hall."


NINA NANNAR (1980-1982)

Studied: German, English and Drama
Nina Nannar specialises in the arts, media and entertainment stories for the ITV National News. After graduating from Leeds University with a degree in English and German, Nina began her media career on local radio and worked for BBC Radio Leeds, before moving into television with work as a reporter on BBC East Midlands Today. As a national journalist, Nina has hosted 3 series of the Asian Perspective for BBC Radio 5 Live, before joining ITV News as their media and arts correspondent, which has lead her to interview the likes of Tom Cruise, Will Smith and Britney Spears.
Nina is an honorary doctorate of Staffordshire University, for services to media. Nina has also been nominated for an EMMA (Ethnic Multicultural Media Awards) for excellence in journalism.
In December 2008 Nina returned to John Leggott College to award the A Level certificates at the annual presentation evening. On her return she was also able to catch up with her college form tutor, Ray Perry, and talk to media studies students about her work in the media. Nina also received an award of her own – an honorary diploma for her services to media from the College.
Since visiting to the college Nina has continued her work for ITV News and has recently returned to the red carpet to interview the likes of Kate Winslet and Danny Boyle just minutes after their Oscar success in Los Angeles earlier in 2009.
Below is what Nina had to say about her time at John Leggott College:

"I remember loving being at college - I adored German in particular, the books I studied then are still on my bookshelf! In fact many books on the curriculum at John Leggott made a big impact on me - Louis MacNeice's poetry, Friedrich Durenmatt's plays, E M Forster - we did some great books then, thanks John Leggott! I was terrified at how trendy and fashionable some of my colleagues were - it was the eighties and big fashion statements (i.e. New Romantic) were all the rage. I felt rather plain in comparison! College just felt so grown up - I remember the thrill of strolling into the common room each day and just watching people! I loved doing drama at John Leggott - being on stage for Brecht's Caucasian Chalk Circle and getting a write up in the Scunthorpe Evening Telegraph: 'Nina Nannar acts with tremendous verve' it said, I was so thrilled even though I am sure it was just a nice way of saying I overacted! John Lennon was shot dead and we all sat silent in the morning assembly listening to ‘Imagine’ and feeling part of something. The songs played in the morning assembly I still associate with John Leggott College when I hear them now, especially the Fleetwood Mac tracks that would often be chosen. It was at John Leggott when I really developed my love of the arts and entertainment - I loved being onstage and wanted to be an actress - but my path took me on a different route."




PHIL NEALE OBE (1970-1972)

Phil Neale played cricket for Worcestershire from the late 70’s to the early 90’s and was appointed county captain in 1982. Under Neale’s guidance Worcestershire won the County Championship in 1988 and 1989, and it was that performance as captain in 1989 that earned him a nomination as Wisden Cricketer of the Year. Neale also dabbled in football, playing for teams Lincoln City and Scunthorpe United.
In 1990, Neale wrote a book about his sporting career, ‘A Double Life’.
Upon his retirement from cricket in 1992, Phil Neale went on to become one of the leading coaches and team managers in English cricket and took up the position of Tour Manager for the England and Wales Cricket Board.
After England’s success in the 2005 Ashes series, Neale was awarded an O.B.E.
For the Ashes 2009 Phil was the England Operations Manager.
Phil does not get chance to visit the Scunthorpe area very frequently, "I am at work with the England Team all year round and spend about 300 nights a year away from home in hotels either in England or abroad."
However, on a rare visit to the town he says, "As I drove past [John Leggott College] I looked to see if the soccer pitch was still in the same place. When I was there we played in the Local League and our team was made up of both students and teachers. We had a pretty good team for a couple of years and none of the other teams enjoyed being beaten by the students."
On news of the interview with Eric Charlesworth Phil says, "Pleased to hear Mr. Charlesworth is still ok and that he remembers me. He was an excellent Principal."



ALEX OGG (1983-1985)

Profession: author, freelance writer, catalogue A&R Consultant and Project Manager.
Studied: English Literature, Theatre Studies, and General Studies
About Alex:

Having completed A-levels at JLC Alex went to Liverpool (via Lancaster University) to study Drama and English.
After graduation Alex began work in a variety of temporary positions including jobs as a bookmaker, a sewage treatment technician and a data entry clerk. Thereafter he began contributing articles to a Cambridge magazine, eventually becoming its editor and has spent the last 20 years as a professional writer whilst also holding down an unglamorous role in television ("though anything is pretty glam compared to sewage treatment design," he adds).
Today, Alex is principally a writer about music. He has written for numerous specialist magazines, newspapers including The Times and Herald and about a dozen books (the most important ones being The Hip Hop Years, which accompanied the Channel 4 TV strand), No More Heroes and Independence Days. His essay accompanying the 2008 reissue of Pillows & Prayers helped it win that year’s Mojo Award and he has written more than a hundred CD liner notes.
Alex has also written in other mediums as he explains, "I wrote an introduction to the recent Worth Editions version of A Christmas Carol, and appeared on the odd media outlet (more radio than TV)"
In addition Alex lectures on cultural industries, teaches journalism at various universities and is the co-editor of the new academic journal Punk & Post-Punk, which is through Leeds University.
In between writing, Alex has decided to take on a part time PGCE course to help gain more lecturing work and according to Alex, "I'm afraid authors are not paid quite as well as some would imagine".
On his time spent at JLC, Alex recalls, "I have extremely fond memories of John Leggott. I did spend rather too much time 'distracted' but had a great rapport with my old Theatre Studies lecturers John and Gerry."


JEN PRINGLE (2000-2002)

Studied: AVCE Media, English Language, Drama and Theatre Studies
Following university Jen became a presenter on the popular children’s television programme Milkshake! on Five. After joining the presenting team in 2006, Jen is now one of the regular hosts on the early morning pre-school series.
In February 2009, Jen returned to the college for a special “Ruby Tuesday” event celebrating the college’s 40th anniversary. She also spoke to performing arts students about her experiences and gave career advice.
Through August and September 2009 Jen and the Milkshake crew tour the UK.
Speaking on her time at John Leggott Jen stated:

"I loved my two years at the college, in particular my media course, as it allowed me to explore a variety of routes within the media industry: television, journalism and radio. This also gave me an opportunity to gain experience in presenting, which inspired me to pursue the career which I now have! The facilities at John Leggott were outstanding, and the encouraging environment has enabled me to fulfil my dream!"


ANNA PUKAS (1974-1976)

Studied: Foxhills
Profession: Chief Features Writer, Daily Express
Studied: Languages
Following JLC, Anna went to Leeds University to study French and German and then continued to Cardiff University where she did a Post Graduate Diploma in Journalism.
Anna’s first job in journalism was at the South London Press, a bi-weekly publication, but at the same time she was sending stories to the Evening Standard and doing casual shifts for the News of the World, Sunday Times and Daily Mail.
After three years Anna left the South London Press and firstly joined the Daily Mail then later the Daily Express.
Anna has specialised in war reporting and this involved visits to Sierra Leone and Bosnia.
Between 1990 and 1994 Anna was an Eastern European correspondent based in Berlin.
In addition Anna has covered Royal tours, interviewed the likes of Jerry Springer, John Major, Michael Parkinson and Pavarotti and met numerous other famous faces including Pierce Brosnan, Ant and Dec, Prunella Scales, Britney Spears.
Anna is now Chief Features Writer for the Daily Express.
This year she returned to college for the first time in more than 30 years and following a reunion with her former personal tutor Ray Perry she met with current JLC students to discuss routes into journalism after A-levels.
Anna explained, “Ultimately it was my language skills that got me noticed, they really helped my career move forward.”
Anna advises budding journalists, "Newsrooms are high pressure, fast-paced and undemocratic environments to work in - you cultivate a thick skin. Graduate trainee schemes are the best route in and it is important to show evidence of commitment by doing whatever journalism you can in the mean time including work experience."




Studied: Science
Wallace Sargent attended the old Scunthorpe Technical High School (as JLC was formerly known) in Cole Street and was the first of its pupils to go to a university.
At Manchester University he studied for a BSc in Physics and then continued with an MSc in Astrophysics and then PhD.
In 1959 Wallace left Manchester and travelled to California where he has spent most of his career. This includes 46 years at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena where he is still a professor and active researcher in astrophysics.
Other roles have included;
Senior Research Fellow, Royal Greenwich Observatory 1962-1964
Assistant Professor of Physics, University of California, San Diego 1964-1966
Assistant Professor of Astronomy, California Institute of Technology 1966-1968; Associate Professor 1968-71; Professor 1971-81. Executive Officer for Astronomy 1975-81 and 1996-97.
Director, Palomar Observatory 1997-2000
Ira S. Bowen Professor of Astronomy 1981-
In addition Wallace has received many honours and awards including a medal from the Institut d’Astrophysique, Paris, in July 2009 and has even had an Asteriod named after him – 11758 Sargent.
Asked about his long career Wallace said:
"There is no mandatory retirement due to age in the US; my work is so interesting that I have continued to work several years after the usual retirement age. Thus, so far this year [2010] I have been twice to London and to Leiden and Paris. And twice to Hawaii and once to Chile to observe on big telescopes. I usually get to Britain two or three times a year, mostly to London, Cambridge, or Edinburgh where my Scottish wife has strong connections. She is also an Astronomy Professor at Caltech and is also Vice President for Student Affairs." 


MARTIN SIMPSON (1969-1970)

Martin Simpson is an internationally acclaimed guitarist and has had numerous hit albums. Since leaving JLC to focus on his music in 1970, it wasn’t until 1975 when he released his debut album Golden Vanity. From that album Martin has worked with Steeleye Span, Barbara Dickson and most famously June Tabor. Martin moved to America in 1987 and continued his journey into different musical inspirations, and has released 16 albums since his debut. Prodigal Son is his 2007 album and it is proving to be one of his most successful, picking up the Best Album and Best Song (for ‘Never Any Good’) awards at the 2008 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. Martin also writes a column for guitar magazine Acoustic and released his Definitive Collection album in 2005.In 2005 Acoustic Magazine voted Martin Simpson the 12th best guitarist in the world.
Martin returned to the college in July 2009 for the final 40th anniversary celebrations and shared some memories with his former Principal Eric Charlesworth who also attended the event.
In August 2009 Martin released his latest album ‘True Stories’. It was received well by critics ranging from the BBC’s Michael Quinn to the Guardian’s Robin Denselow who gave it a 4/5 rating. One track from the album, ‘Look Up, Look Down’ is on the current playlist of Radio 2’s Radcliffe and Maconie show.


SHERIDAN SMITH (1997-1997)

Studied: Dance (evening class)
Sheridan only attended JLC for a few weeks in 1997, as she was asked to appear in the West End version of Bugsy Malone in the November of that year. Since then Sheridan has appeared in many of Britain’s best loved sit-coms such as The Royle Family, Love Soup, Eyes Down and The Lenny Henry Show. She is perhaps best known for her ongoing role as Janet Keogh in the hugely successful Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps, and also the lead role of Michelle in BBC Three’s Grown-Ups.
In 2008 Sheridan was nominated for an Olivier Award for her role in Little Shop Of Horrors and will appear in the Christmas special of returning comedy-drama Jonathan Creek, as well as continuing her role as Lucie Miller in the Doctor Who audio stories. 2009 brought Sheridan roles in the new series of Jonathan Creek, Benidorm and the lead role of Elle Woods in the West End version of Legally Blonde: The Musical. Sheridan also appears in the second and third series of Gavin & Stacey, in which a song recorded by former JLC student Stephen Fretwell is the theme music!



MATT SPARROW (1998-2000)

Studied: Leisure and Tourism
Matt currently plays for Crawley Town and is a former midfielder for Scunthorpe United.
He was among the first Scunthorpe United apprentices to embark on a special programme of study at John Leggott to fit in around football.
By 2001 he became a regular player in the Scunthorpe first team. In 2007 Matt signed a three-year deal with the club ensuring his future with them.
He is now the Iron's longest-serving player and in April 2009 made his 300th appearance enabling him to play in a testimonial match on 1 May. Former Scunthorpe striker Billy Sharp and veteran midfielder Peter Beagrie were among the players who returned for the match.
More recently, Matt scored twice during a crucial Championship playoff match between Scunthorpe and Millwall in Wembley, May 2009.




KEITH WATERS (1974-1976)

Profession: Chief Operating Officer, European Tour
Studied: Maths, Chemistry, Physics
Keith Waters interest in sport began aged 12 and encouraged by his father, at 15 he became a county golf player.
After attending Frederick Gough School he continued to JLC where he studied for A-levels.
Keen to keep up the golf Keith set up a team and made arrangements with Principal Eric Charlesworth to go out and play twice a week.
Not only was Keith successful in sport but also academically and he was offered a place at Oxford University to study Chemistry.
However, Keith chose to turn down the offer (much to Mr Charlesworth’s disapproval) and took up golf professionally after JLC (with the intention of going to university if it didn’t work out).
Keith played competitively for 16 years and won a number of prizes before retiring from full-time golf and making a career change.
Despite not playing for 6 years, being an expert in world golf rankings opened doors for Keith and he was offered a role working with the PGA European Tour. In 2005 a promotion made him number two in the company and he now arranges huge events and travels across the globe with his work.
On his time spent at JLC Keith said, "I really enjoyed my 2 years but they went too quickly. I have fond memories and I am still in touch with my science teacher – Keith Moor."
Keith believes that to be a success, "it's a good idea to specialise in something but to have a background in lots of things."
In May 2010 Keith invited JLC golf academy students to Wentworth to share his story and experience the BMW PGA Championship.




NATALKA ZNAK (1982-1984)

Profession: TV Producer/Controller of Factual Entertainment at Granada
Studied: History
Natalka Znak is the creator and executive producer of ITV’s hit reality programme I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! Upon leaving John Leggott, Natalka studied History at Oxford University and after years of working as a researcher for the Labour Party, Natalka began her work in television on the BBC’s flagship political programme Question Time. Her move into the reality genre began with Temptation Island on Sky One, before moving to ITV to work on Human Zoo. In 2001 Natalka became the Head of Reality Programming at ITV and produced programmes such as Soapstars, Hell’s Kitchen, Pop Goes the Band and Celebrity Love Island. Since 2004 Natalka has been Granada’s Controller of Factual Entertainment and continues her work for ITV.Natalka spent most of 2008 in Los Angeles, pitching many ITV programme ideas to the top American broadcasters, concluding in the US version of I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! being commissioned by NBC for Summer 2009.
Voted No.93 in the Top 100 people in Media (Media Guardian 2005) and with I’m A Celebrity, Natalka, has won BAFTA and National Television Awards.
Natalka returned to John Leggott College on Friday 12th September 2008 to open the new Study Zone and became the first well-known alumni to return to the college in its’ 40th year. Below is what Natalka had to say about the college:

"When I was at college I didn’t really know what I wanted to do but I was determined to be successful and I am now doing my dream job, despite the fact that I didn’t know how to get into TV when I was younger. It has been really good to come back to John Leggott College – the College was really good to me as it got me into Oxford University, much to my surprise, and now I am doing a job which I love. There is no greater springboard than John Leggott College."