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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 August, 2003, 08:08 GMT 09:08 UK
Twelve-year-old boy passes A-level
Jonathan Prior
Jonathan Prior, 12, says he is largely self-taught
A boy who does not go to school is thought to be the youngest person to pass an A-level this year.

Jonathan Prior, who was taught at home by his parents, took the information technology (IT) exam when he was 11.

Now 12, he has been awarded a D grade.

Jonathan, from Motspur Park, south-west London, said: "My mum and dad, they teach me all the basics.

"I take all the information out of books, I write it down and maybe take some questions on it, testing myself on what I know and learning techniques.

More exams

"In a way, no one is teaching me. I'm teaching myself how to do it."

Jonathan took an IT course at private Ryde College, near Watford, Hertfordshire, having already completed a GCSE in the same subject.

The elder of two brothers, he said he had used computers since early childhood, but denied he was a child prodigy.

Jonathan still has to decide which other GCSEs to take, probably at 14 or 15.

Attending school is not compulsory but parents, by law, have to ensure their child is being educated.

Jonathan's mother Rehena, a former teacher, said the family had decided to teach Jonathan at home after he said: "I wonder what it would be like not to go to school".

She added: "He found a piece of information, we sat down and discussed it and decided, `Why not?"'

Mrs Prior made it clear there had been no parental pressure on Jonathan to pass the A-level.

"Exams have never really been an issue because it wasn't the exam that Jonathan started the course for, it was the course itself."

The record for the youngest person to pass an A-level is believed to be held by Ganesh Sittampalam, who got an A in maths in 1988 when he was nine.

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