Head teachers at Bradford popstar Zayn Malik’s former schools last night spoke of their pride after he and his band One Direction became the first UK pop group in history to debut at number one in the US album chart.

John Edwards, head of Lower Fields Primary said, despite Zayn’s huge success, he remained unaffected by his fame and still paid the occasional visit to the school in Fenby Avenue, Dudley Hill.

Mr Edwards said: “It’s brilliant. The thing that impresses me about Zayn is that fame hasn’t changed him one bit. He pops into school every so often. He is totally unaffected, respectful, a delightful young man. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer person.”

He said Zayn’s rise to fame had been “astonishing” after One Direction finished third in the X Factor competition in 2010.

“We followed him closely through the competition and we were delighted when they were so successful, but never envisaged it would become a worldwide phenomenon,” said Mr Edwards.

Steve Curran, head teacher of Tong High School, which Zayn attended until he found fame, said: “We are delighted and proud of Zayn’s success and would like to congratulate One Direction on their US success.

“We would like to pass on our best wishes from all staff and students of Tong High School.”

The group sold 176,000 copies of their album – Up All Night – in the US in the space of a week. It topped the digital charts within minutes of its release last week.

Seeing their first album at the top of the Billboard chart, is “beyond a dream come true”, for One Direction, according to Zayn’s bandmate Harry Styles.

He said: “We want to thank each and every one of our fans in the US who bought our album and we would also like to thank the American public for being so supportive of us.”

The previous highest entry for a UK group’s first album was number six, when the Spice Girls entered the US charts with their album Spice in 1997. It eventually climbed to the top spot after 14 weeks.

One Direction have been conquering the US with a promotional tour in recent weeks.

More than 10,000 fans are estimated to have turned up to see their first live TV performance in the US when they appeared on NBC’s Today Show in Rockefeller Plaza, New York.

One Direction have already found huge fame among teenage fans in the UK.

Up All Night went straight to number one at home and in 12 other countries with global sales of more than 4.2 million.

Last month they picked up a best single Brit award for the track What Makes You Beautiful.

e-mail: tanya.orourke@telegraphandargus.co.uk