Days after David Blunkett, the Secretary of State for Education, said he wanted schools to enter more younger pupils for GCSE, Nirav Gathani from Watford in Hertfordshire became the youngest candidate to pass a higher-level GCSE. Nirav, who studied at Ryde College in north-west London for four hours a week, got a grade B for information systems - a computer- based subject.
He said: "Near the exam I was working for about two hours a day but I was also playing football, riding my bike and on my Playstation."
Mike Ryde, the managing director of the college, said: "99.9 per cent of children can take a GCSE early given the right motivation. This is not about prodigies and whiz-kids. It is about giving normal kids an opportunity to learn."
In Basingstoke, Hampshire, nine-year-old Maiuran Chandrakumaran won pounds 1,000 from his father after gaining a B in mathematics. His father, a surgeon at North Hampshire Hospital, bet him he would only get a C. Maiuran was taught at home by his father.
At Clifton Lodge, a west London prep school, three 11-year-olds were awarded A grades in maths. David Blumlein, the head, said: "Modern education people get it all wrong. Boys like to get on and feel they have achieved."
Twelve-year-old Paul Brad-ley and his 62-year-old grandmother, Ann Bowen, both achieved B grades in art. Mrs Bowen was so impressed by Paul's skills they both attended weekly night classes at a local college for two years.
Helen Rollason's daughter gets 10 grade As, page 6Reuse content