If I have learned one thing in life, it's that hard work will outweigh ability for only so long, and in all cases a slice of luck helps hugely.
I have to say I agree with this. The biggest factor in intelligence is heredity, like it or not. Put that with personality, and you essentially map out the life of a child. The little early readers motoring through Biff and Chip before everyone else in Reception will not necessarily be the same ones getting a run of top grades at A level and a degree in astrophysics from Cambridge.
One other thing - the curriculum and exams offered at Pates are the same as at any other school in the country. There is not some magic 'other plan' for grammar schools which leads children down a different, glittering path. So there is a limit to which 'the pace' can vary: they all have to learn the same stuff in the end, and sit the same exams.