Top GCSE success for Ellie despite her age

Eight-year-old Ellie Barnes celebrates gaining the top grade, nine, in her maths GCSE exam, pictured with proud family, mum Angela, brother Thomas,12, and dad Simon, right
Eight-year-old Ellie Barnes celebrates gaining the top grade, nine, in her maths GCSE exam, pictured with proud family, mum Angela, brother Thomas,12, and dad Simon, right

A pint-sized maths prodigy has become one of the youngest people in the country to score the top GCSE grade.

Ellie Barnes achieved a nine at the tender age of just eight, following in the footsteps of her brother Thomas who got an A* in the same subject aged seven.

This was Ellie’s second attempt at sitting GCSE maths, having achieved a six on her first go last year.

But 12 months later all her hard work, coupled with an amazing natural flair for numbers, saw her achieve the best-possible mark in an extremely tough exam.

Ellie is tutored at home in Leigh, with dad Simon doing the bulk of the teaching work, and says her ambition currently is to study science before becoming a doctor.

Simon, of Chilton Close, said: “Ellie showed promise early on and had a go last year, but with it being the new-style exam we had no idea what to expect.

“Over the year we worked a lot on building her confidence. She got a really good score of 71 out of 80 on one of the papers and over the three exams did enough for a grade nine.

“Getting the results was all a bit of a blur. She opened it up and Thomas was sat next to her. I couldn’t tell at first from her face but Thomas had this big smile.

“I was just waiting for them to tell me what the grade was but then the exams officer had a sneak peek and whispered to me her result.

“A couple of days ago I asked Ellie what she thought she would get and she was a bit reticent. I don’t think she wanted to think about getting a nine in case she was disappointed.

“I had a look at the grade boundaries on results morning and told her what they were and there was a little grin.

“That told me she was feeling a bit more confident.”

Ellie sat the exams at Westleigh High School and also went there to pick up her GCSE result.

Simon said: “They’ve been fantastic with her. She got used to the invigilator they got for her.

“Last year she had to sit on a cushion on the chair because she couldn’t reach the desk, but she’s grown a bit this year.”

Simon says Ellie is currently expressing a particular enthusiasm to study science and enjoys spending time in the garden with her magnifying glass.