Victoria, now 18, began to read Dickens at the age of eight. "There was a lot of pressure to hide what I was reading," she says. "I had to hide how much I was enjoying school."
To some degree, this is still the case at Frome community college in Somerset. She says: "There's a lot of social pressure not to perform well in class. Boys feel it most: there are masculinity problems with appearing clever. It can be very frustrating."
Such frustration is familiar to 17-year-old Michaela Goff (above). While she asked her GCSE teachers A-level standard questions, fellow pupils at Headington school in Oxford struggled to understand the lessons.
"Sometimes teachers have to define the majority of words in a sentence,"
she says. "I get this sinking feeling that we're not going anywhere.
"I just lose interest in a topic."
Both Michaela and Victoria have attended summer schools run by the National Academy of Gifted and Talented Youth at Warwick University.
"It's very stimulating to be in a class with people who are interested in whatever you're learning," Michaela says. "And the teachers want to push the boundaries of your learning a bit further. It's important not to be constricted by the confines of the curriculum."
Photograph: Geraint Lewis