(Photograph) - Jan Gormley (above) may well be the proudest teacher in England after pupils in one of her English classes pulled off an impressive feat, writes Warwick Mansell.
Four of her charges at Wade Deacon High in Widnes, near Liverpool, were among the top five performers in an AQA English literature GCSE, taken by 364,832 candidates this summer.
Even more remarkably, this was a Year 10 class, all her students having been entered a year early for the exam.
Mrs Gormley, who is also an assistant principal at the comprehensive, said: "I'm absolutely bowled over. More than anything, I am really proud of the kids because they were an absolutely great bunch."
Of the 30 Year 10 pupils in her top set class, 21 achieved A*s, eight got As and one achieved a B.
Mrs Gormley said the ethos of the school, which she described as a "bog standard" comprehensive, was the key to its success. In particular, it had high expectations for every child.
She said two of the four top performers had not achieved the highest level in their key stage 3 tests last year. "We worked really hard with them and they have shown us what we can do," she said.
Photograph: Christopher Thomond