A teacher from Penarth is celebrating after becoming the UK Memory Champion, setting a new Welsh record in the process.
James Paterson first honed his memory skills when he was a promising pupil at Stanwell School in Penarth. Now he’s Head of Psychology at an independent day and boarding school LVS Ascot in Berkshire.
James, who has been runner-up at the event four times, won the accolade of UK Memory Champion after two days of intense competition spanning ten different tests of mental capacity and recall at L’Escargot in Soho and has already turned his attention to passing on his knowledge to ensure students continue to benefit from his talents.
Students at LVS Ascot will reap the benefits of James’ skills and recognition, with special study skills talks for GCSE and sixth form students planned to help them improve yet further on its A-Level results last month which saw a significant rise in A* and A grades and a highest ever pass rate of 99.2%.
James will also be running memory clubs for high ability year -10 students who will be able to learn memory techniques to a level where they themselves can compete in adult memory competitions.
James said: “Memory techniques are an important aspect of learning and I am delighted to be able to pass on key methods and advice to LVS Ascot’s students to help them achieve the best possible grades. I have run highly successful memory and study workshops here for students, but also for parents as we believe it is important for parents to be able to support their children’s learning effectively at home too. Memorisation-style revision sessions last term were also a big hit and those that attended commented that the best thing was the stress reduction from knowing that all of the facts and figures were at their fingertips”.
James set a new Welsh record in the spoken numbers event, recalling 79 random digits in order to beat the previous best of 75. He also holds the British record for the number of consecutive random words memorised in order at 242, and at the event in August successfully memorised 312 random playing cards – six full decks – in order.
LVS Ascot Principal Christine Cunniffe said: “We are delighted for James that he has achieved such a prestigious accolade, and even more pleased that pupils at the school will continue to benefit from his expert knowledge. I was delighted by our GCSE and record A-Level results last month, and hope we can build on these yet further by capitalising on the expert revision techniques we are able to offer students. We will continue to ensure students could not be better prepared for exams”.
James was congratulated on his achievement last week by former US Memory Champion and bestselling author David Thomas, who attended LVS Ascot’s staff conference on Thursday to talk about memory and personal development. David has also finished 3rd in the World Memory Championships and was impressed by James’ performance and his methods of passing on key techniques to make a difference in education.
Last month James was one of a team of teachers from LVS Ascot who came within one question of beating the best quiz team in Britain on BBC quiz show Eggheads.