Leading Article: The power of role models

Michelle Obama's impromptu visit to Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School in Islington has had quite an effect. A group of teenagers from the London borough's schools visited the White House last week to receive another pep talk from Barack Obama's wife. "I see myself in you all," she told them. "The important thing is to know that you can do anything."

When Michelle Obama descended on Elizabeth Garrett Anderson in April 2009 at the time of the G20 meetings, she urged the girls to work hard and do well. That seems to have fed through into the school's exam results. Elizabeth Garrett has climbed four percentage points in the Islington table and is now one of the better secondary schools in the borough for GCSEs. It shows the power of a good role model.