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UK’s oldest GCSE student celebrates exam success

UK’s oldest GCSE student celebrates exam success

Derek Skipper last took a maths exam in 1946

The UK's oldest GCSE student is celebrating his success after passing his maths exam with help from YouTube.

Derek Skipper, a former RAF radar engineer in the Korean War, last took a maths exam in 1946, shortly after the Second World War.

Decades on, he was keen to improve his mind and so signed up for a free adult education course run by The Cam Academy Trust at Comberton Village College.

The course offered five hours of tuition a week over Zoom, and Skipper stayed committed to his education and never missed a class. He also used YouTube tutorials to help him learn, telling ITV News: "You just want to know anything and YouTube’s your boy. I watched a lot of tutorials."

Earlier this year, Skipper became the eldest GCSE student as he took his foundation paper in a school hall full of 15 and 16-year-olds.

At 92 years old, he opened up his results today to learn he had 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 Skipper took his exam in a hall full of teenagers.
Charles Robertson/Alamy Stock Photo

Speaking to ITV News about his decision to take the course, Skipper commented: "Other people try crosswords and that doesn't turn me on very much. So I thought I'd try to have a go and improve my mind. People did tell me I was a bit daft."

"I thoroughly enjoyed it and learned a lot about using a calculator," he said of taking the exam, adding: "What else are you going to do with your life? Do you just want to die off? You may as well enjoy it."

The result is Skipper's latest achievement after having previously achieved a British Empire Medal for his military service.

When he last took a maths exam, he told BBC News he achieved 'what must have been a very basic pass'.

Derek Skipper was 'delighted' with his exam result.
BBC Breakfast

"Why not [take the exam]," he added, saying: "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."

He described himself as 'delighted' with his new grade, though admitted he was 'a little bit worried last night' about knowing he was going to be sharing his result on TV, saying it would be a 'very short interview' if he'd failed.

Thankfully Skipper no longer has to worry about that, and can instead focus on enjoying his result.

Featured Image Credit: BBC/SWNS

Topics: UK News