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From jail to becoming a public speaker, what’s the cast of Educating Yorkshire up to now?

One of them had a musical based on their journey!


10 years after it aired the cast of Channel 4’s Educating Yorkshire has been up to a lot. From serving time in prison, becoming headteacher of Thornhill Academy and even having an entire West End musical based on them, the former teachers and students have been keeping themselves busy since the show aired.

Let’s find out what the cast of Educating Yorkshire has been up to!

Jonny Mitchell

Jonny Mitchell was the caring head of Thornhill Community Academy, and two years after the show finished filming he left Thornhill and started as the headteacher at Co-op Academy Leeds in Harehills. He remained at the Co-op for a number of years before moving to his current school, Netherwood Academy, where he is currently the headteacher.

In a letter sent out before he started at Netherwood Academy Jonny was described as standing “out head and shoulders above the rest. He is an extremely experienced head, working in very similar communities to Netherwood, and has a clear determination that matches that of the trust to accelerate the academy’s improvement journey.”

Prior to becoming a teacher, Jonny worked in Paris as a legal translator. He then retrained to join the profession and is a qualified Modern Foreign Languages teacher.

Ryan Ward

When he was in year eight, Ryan Ward wanted to become prime minister. Failing that, it was an actor, fireman or policeman, any career as long as he was helping people.

Now a 23-year-old Ryan, who still lives just around the corner from Thornhill Academy in Dewsbury, is working with his parents at a flooring company.

Looking back at his time on the show, he said: “When the cameras were rolling I was really enjoying myself. I was always one of the people wearing a microphone in case I said something funny.

“If I’d known how difficult the real world is when you get out of high school I would have made my aspirations a little bit more realistic but anything can happen can’t it?”

Ryan shared this inspiring message for pupils studying in schools about their aspirations for the future.

“No matter how strange or odd your dreams may be, for example, wanting to be a police, a fireman, an actor or even the prime minister, the only way you can guarantee yourself to succeed is if you never give up and keep on trying.”

Tom Foster

“If I’d known how difficult the real world is when you get out of high school I would have made my aspirations a little bit more realistic but anything can happen can’t it?”

Ryan shared this inspiring message for pupils studying in schools about their aspirations for the future.

“No matter how strange or odd your dreams may be, for example, wanting to be a police, a fireman, an actor or even the prime minister, the only way you can guarantee yourself to succeed is if you never give up and keep on trying.”

Tom Foster

The school joker who loved to make people laugh struggled to concentrate in the classroom and his behaviour spiralled out of control after the death of his stepbrother. However, by the end of the episode, he was back on track and determined to get some qualifications to help him in later life.

Now, Tom, who is 25, works in a warehouse and while he has no regrets about filming Educating Yorkshire, he does believe that some of his teachers “acted up for the camera”.

Kamrrem Harris

Just a few years after featuring on the Channel 4 show, Kamrrem Harris found himself in trouble with the law and in 2018, the then 18-year-old was jailed after breaking a man’s jaw in a pub in Dewsbury.

Kamrrem was found guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm, violent disorder and possessing an offensive weapon.

He was jailed for 27 months in a young offenders institution in February 2018 and has since been released back into the community.

Musharaf Ashgar

Musharaf is arguably the most successful cast member to come out of Educating Yorkshire. The 27-year-old struggled throughout his childhood with a stammer but with the help of English teacher Matthew Burton, who used techniques from The King’s Speech, he was able to deliver a speech in front of the school during an assembly. Since then, Musharaf has become a motivational speaker.

According to his LinkedIn page, he graduated from The University of Huddersfield in 2021 after receiving a 2:1 and is now a freelance motivational speaker!

A musical about his story called Mushy: Lyrically Speaking was also produced which was based on Musharaf’s journey to overcome his stutter!

Matthew Burton

Helping Musharaf with his stammer was Matthew Burton and since the show aired the pair have struck up somewhat of a bromance with Matthew even giving Musharaf a pep talk prior to his appearance on First Dates, and frequently appears alongside Musharaf when he does his public speaking events.

However, Matthew is a star in his own right, and he has since bagged the top job at Thornhill Community Academy by becoming headteacher.

He boasts a following of 38,000 on Twitter and has written two books aimed at helping teenagers survive their time at secondary school.

Michael Steer

The now 46-year-old was the focus of the sixth episode of the show in which he desperately tried to get C grades for a group of year 11 girls who hated maths. It wasn’t an easy feat and one that saw him become ill and stressed as a result of pouring hours of additional time into helping his pupils.

Unfortunately, Sheridan, one of the pupils he helped, narrowly missed out on a C, but she has since achieved that pass rate, according to Michael who tutored her after the show.

He recently worked at Offett Academy but currently works as a lead practitioner at North Huddersfield Trust School.

Neil Giffin

After having sex with former pupils from his old school in Cheshire between 2007 and 2008, Neil Giffin was banned from teaching.

Neil, who appeared as head of humanities during his time on Educating Yorkshire, admitted to relationships with ex-pupils from Bishop Heber High School in Malpas, Cheshire when he taught there between the years of 2003 and 2012.

He then joined Thornhill Community Academy before resigning in April 2014 having already been suspended by the Dewsbury school.

And now you’re fully caught up on what the former cast of Educating Yorkshire has been up to!

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