Maths prodigies should not take exams early, expert says

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.”

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