February 3, 2023

He had to use a magnifying glass to help with reading the questions

A 92-year-old man who is believed to be the oldest GCSE student to sit an exam has passed his maths paper with the highest mark possible.

Derek Skipper, from Orwell in Cambridgeshire, had signed up for a free adult education course run by The Cam Academy Trust at Comberton Village College, and been studying for the exam via Zoom for five hours a week.

Derek also watched YouTube videos to help him study.

He last took a maths exam in 1946, and went on to work as a RAF radar engineer in the Korean War.

And earlier this year, he sat the exam in a school hall alongside Year 11 students.

Due to his poor eyesight he had to use a NHS magnifying glass to read the questions, but it didn’t hold him back as he achieved a Grade 5 in the exam – the highest grade possible.

He wished he could take the higher paper rather than the foundation exam, but that was not an option on the adult education programme.

Derek had told ITV that crosswords “don’t turn me on very much” so he thought he’d “try and have a go and improve my mind.”

Speaking to the BBC, he said he was “very pleased indeed” with his results, describing maths as a “wonderful thing.”

Derek took the exam in a school hall alongside 15 and 16-year-olds earlier this year (SWNS)

Derek said: “Here is an offer by the local authority to have a free course for some maths, I took it in 1946 and it seemed to me when I took it, I just went through the motions as all schoolchildren had to do, and I didn’t really understand much about it.”

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Although he said it “didn’t matter two hoots whether I passed or failed” because he was “doing it for a bit of fun,” he did admit to being “a little bit worried” the night before his results and joked that it would have been a “very short interview” if he’d failed.

He added that this will probably be his last exam and that he “shall go out on a high.”

Rightly so Derek, you enjoy your result.

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