Berkshire pupil becomes Chinese TV star with memory challenge

LVS Ascott

LVS Ascot is an all-ability, independent day and boarding school for boys and girls aged from 4 to 18 years based in Ascot, Berkshire.They are a non-selective private school of more than 900 pupils located close to London and Surrey. A through-school, with their Junior School, Secondary School and Sixth Form located on one spacious, green, airy site, LVS Ascot offer an uninterrupted education from age 4 in Reception class through to age 18 as our students finish their A Levels.

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A boarding school pupil from Berkshire has become a star in China after appearing on the popular Super Brain 2016 memory challenge show in front of over 100m viewers late last month. 13-year old Henry Bole, a year 9 pupil at LVS (Licensed Victuallers' School) Ascot, narrowly lost out to a 21-year-old Chinese university student in a China vs United Kingdom edition of the programme. Henry had been trained by way of extra tuition from his mentor James Paterson, a teacher at leading independent all-ability school.

Super Brain boasts over 100 million viewers, and Henry was even chased by autograph hunters and fans wanting to have their pictures taken with him during filming of the show. LVS Ascot has a pedigree in memory skills, with Psychology teacher James Paterson a four-time runner up in the UK Memory Championships, holder of a world memory record, and participant in Super Brain himself in 2015. Henry has featured in the TV documentary Memory Slam, in which he reached the final four aged just 12 and smashed a national schools’ record by memorising 104 random objects in order in just 15 minutes.

Jiangsu TV, the Chinese TV company who make Super Brain, heard about Henry’s exploits and he was subsequently selected to join three-time world memory champion Ben Pridmore, current UK memory champion Marlo Knight and former world mental calculation champion Robert Fountain in the Great Britain team that flew out to the Nanjing to take on China’s memory experts in one of the country’s biggest tv shows.

Producers could not find anyone to represent China in Henry’s age group who could match his skills, so his selected opponent was a 21-year-old university student who had taken part in the show before and competed at the World Memory Championships. Their head-to-head challenge involved memorising the order of 100 models of pandas which were situated on unique grass mats, and then working out which four pandas had been moved by the judges, who were all Chinese celebrities. While Henry was defeated by a slightly faster and more accurate rival, Great Britain lost by two challenges to one with one drawn event.

“I’m really proud of Henry,” said teacher James. “He was unfazed by being part of a team of adult memory champions and by taking on a much older contestant in front of a huge audience. The training sessions at LVS Ascot have really helped him progress and gain confidence, and it is a huge benefit that we are able to provide memory coaching such as this to all our students in the build up to exams. They are beneficial in reducing stress and our learning techniques will help them be successful in GCSEs and A-Levels and beyond.”

The memory techniques taught to Henry are commonplace at LVS Ascot, where James Paterson leads revision classes for students, and even parents so they can help their children revise. These are complimented by additional sessions for students before and after school to hone skills such as memory palace recall and mind mapping in preparation for their exams. The episode can be viewed on Super Brain’s YouTube channel:

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