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All hail the Cardiff ‘maths whisperer’ – and other life-changing teachers

A maths teacher in Cardiff helped his entire class gain A* grades in their GCSEs – six months early. Readers share stories of their own extraordinary teachers

Francis Elive deserves a bonus. The 55-year-old maths teacher recently helped his entire class of 30 year 11 students at the Fitzalan high school in Leckwith, Cardiff, to achieve A* grades in their GCSE maths exam – six months early.

Inspirational teachers like Elive, who has been dubbed the “maths whisperer”, don’t come along often. But when they do, they can have a lifelong impact. When Lauren Aitchinson was 17, she had a wobble with her mental health. Her boyfriend had dumped her for her best friend and her confidence plummeted. “I thought I was the most stupid person alive,” Aitchinson, a 31-year-old caseworker from Perthshire, remembers. “I didn’t deserve to go to uni.” Aitchinson refused to sit the exams she would need to pass to go to university.

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