A 12-year-old boy who got A* in his maths GCSE aged eight, has now become Britain’s youngest university student.
Xavier Gordon-Brown may still be too young to join Facebook, but is already studying for a degree in maths.
He manages to fit his university studies into his free hours between full-time school, practicing the clarinet, piano and violin, learning four languages and playing football with his friends. When Xavier, from Haywards Heath in Sussex, passed his GCSE in 2009 he was the youngest ever student to gain an A* in maths, and could recite 2,000 digits of Pi.
He is now studying abstract structures, vector calculus and Newtonian mechanics in his spare time, but since he only turned 12 last month he has to be accompanied to his Monday evening lectures by his mother.
Despite being the youngest student by far, his proud mother Erica said he is still top of the class. Erica said: ‘He absolutely loves it.
“It’s one of those things we thought about for a while, but seeing how much he enjoys it has made it all worthwhile.
“People make a lot out of keeping children in their age group, but it is good for him to be amongst his intellectual equals too.”
The youngster’s interest in numbers started at an early age. Xavier knew his times tables before he was four and could do double-digit mental arithmetic before starting school. A year after his GCSE success he passed his A-levels.
Xavier, who lives with housewife Erica and father Michael, travels with his mother to Open University lectures in East Grinstead two to three times a month. “When he’s with kids his own age he’s fine, but when it comes to maths he needs to be with people on his intellectual level,” she said. She added that Xavier loves playing football with his friends and that, despite his busy schedule, he never falls behind in his studies.
Erica said: “He’s not falling behind. If anything he’s top of the class and everyone gets on with him really well. When I go I absolutely don’t understand a word of what’s going on.”
Although Xavier is an extraordinary talent, it seems to be a family tradition, both Xavier’s older sister and brother took GCSEs at a similar age. As well as football, Xavier enjoys chess, Taekwondo and trampolining and on top of French and Spanish lessons at Oathall Community College, he is teaching himself Latin and Mandarin at home.