Maths prodigies should not take exams early, expert says

19th April 2015 at 06:01

Maths prodigies should sit their GCSEs and A-levels at the same time as their classmates and not be “trained” to take exams early or fast-tracked to university, a leading maths teacher has warned.

Geoff Smith, chairman of the British and International Maths Olympiads, and vice-chairman of the United Kingdom Mathematics Trust, said that accelerating children through the exam system was “a disaster” and “a mistake”.

Instead, Dr Smith suggested that talented maths pupils should be given extended, complex problems to solve, building on the knowledge they had gained at school.

He said: “Unusually bright people find the school mathematics syllabus undemanding. But there’s so much worthwhile mathematics to keep them happy and busy while their bodies turn into adults. School maths barely scratches the surface.”

To read the full story, get the 17 April edition of TES on your tablet or phone, or by downloading the TES Reader app for Android or iOS. Or pick it up at all good newsagents.

Loved these articles?

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you’ll get access to more news, courses, jobs and teaching resources.

Login/Register now


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now