Child prodigy rejected by Oxford after exam board lost his A-level paper

Jack Graham
Jack Graham missed out on a place at the University of Oxford after an exam board lost his A-level paper - Andy Graham/SWNS

A child prodigy who took his maths GCSE aged eight has been rejected from Oxford University after an exam board lost his test paper.

Jack Graham, 18, had been given a conditional offer to study mathematics at Lincoln College this year based on getting an A* in maths.

But after sitting his A-level in May the OCR exam board mislaid one of his papers, and gave him a predicted grade of an A rather than the A* he needed.

The board created a calculation based on an average of his tests and other criteria, according to Andy Graham, Jack’s father.

Without an A* grade, Jack failed to meet his offer criteria for Oxford and was rejected.

Jack, who had passed his maths GCSE at the age of eight, said he felt devastated.

“When results day came, my jaw hit the floor,” he said.

“I have to admit I’m angry and frustrated at the whole situation.”

Jack sat his GCSEs aged eight, but was denied a place at Oxford
Jack sat his GCSEs aged eight, but was denied a place at Oxford - Andy Graham/SWNS

He added: “When I first heard that the exam board had lost one of my papers I wasn’t concerned because I thought my previous results were good enough to be awarded an A* and I know things like these happen all the time.

“It’s come to the point where now that the appeal has been rejected I have to accept it, but the question will always be there in the back of my mind.

“What would my life have become if they were able to mark that paper and I was accepted into Oxford?”

Child genius was inspired by Sunak

Mr Graham, said his son was “furious” and described the incident as a “bad joke”.

He said his son had wanted to attend Lincoln College like Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister, who is known for his advocacy of maths as a subject.

Jack will instead attend the University of Warwick for the next four years to study mathematics, operational research, statistics and economics.

He said that although this was not his first choice, he is looking forward to starting at Warwick – which is the third-best mathematics university in the UK behind Cambridge and Oxford.

A spokesman for OCR said: “The result we issued is fair and based on a thorough review of the evidence, including from the student’s other exams and how others performed.

“All exam boards use this nationally agreed approach for the rare cases where students are unable to sit an exam or where papers go missing.

“Universities decide whether to make exceptions when admitting students. We wish Jack all the best with his studies.”

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