Lessons at home propel 13-year-old to top A-level grades and a place at Oxford

ADAM DENT, 13, has won a place at Oxford University after gaining two A-levels, both at grade A, writes Fran Abrams.

Adam, who has spent the past two years in the sixth form at Aylesbury Grammar School, Buckinghamshire, learned yesterday that he had achieved top grades in both chemistry and biology. He plans to take two more A-levels next year, in maths and physics, before reading chemistry at St Hugh's College. His mother, Jessie, decided four years ago to teach him at home with his sister Emma and brother Geoffrey, now aged 10 and 11, because she felt they were bored at their primary school. Within two years Adam had passed four GCSEs and embarked on his A-level courses. Geoffrey expects the results of his GCSEs in mathematics and computer science next week.

Mrs Dent, who did not go to university, said she preferred to let her children learn by themselves. She works with them during the day before going out to two part-time jobs, but says: 'I don't really teach them, I just let them get on with it and then help them out when they get stuck.'

Adam will follow in the footsteps of Ruth Lawrence, who went to St Hugh's to read maths at the age of 12. He will be 18 when he graduates - the same age that most of his contemporaries start their courses - and may go on to do research. 'I just think of it as normal, but nobody else seems to,' he said.

(Photograph omitted)