A gifted pupil is the first person at his school to win a place at a national academy for bright students.

Simon Holkham, 12, is looking forward to joining the new National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth.

Members have to show they have an academic ability within the top five per cent of the population.

But Simon, 12, a pupil at Patcham High School in Brighton who hopes to become a marine biologist, is modest about his achievements.

He said: "I am happy to be part of it and all the teachers have been congratulating me.

"A couple of my friends know and they have been congratulating me too.

"I was very surprised to get in. I didn't realise it was such a big thing."

The academy, which is based at the University of Warwick, is rolling out its first summer school programme this year.

Simon had to write a letter to the academy, which was sent along with documents detailing all his academic achievements and abilities.

Although Simon, who enjoys science, particularly biology, will continue to study at Patcham High in Ladies Mile Road he will attend the summer schools and take part in interactive learning on the internet.

Liz Fletcher, headteacher at Patcham, said: "We encouraged Simon to apply as one of our group of gifted and talented students in the school.

"Such students work with our designated co-ordinator for able students, Elisa Bertorelli. She supports, tracks and monitors them individually, finding ways to develop and enhance their abilities.

"The new national academy will put Simon in touch with a fantastic network across Britain, including several leading universities.

"This is another first for Patcham High and we are delighted."

Mrs Fletcher said the school would consider encouraging other talented pupils to apply for a place at the academy.