Teenage maths prodigy rejected by Oxford Uni after exam board ‘lost’ paper

A maths prodigy has been rejected from Oxford University, after an exam board apparently ‘lost’ his test paper meaning he did not make the grade to get in.

Maths whizz Jack Graham, 18, had been given a conditional offer to study mathematics at Lincoln College at Oxford University this year.

But after sitting his maths A-Level in May he was downgraded from his expected A* grade to an A after exam board OCR allegedly ‘mislaid’ one of his papers.

The OCR’s final grade for Jack was based exclusively on his work. By failing to achieve an A* grade, he failed to meet his offer criteria for Oxford and was rejected.

His family said no one could believe what has happened.

The former Bracknell Garth Hill College student said: “When results day came, my jaw hit the floor.

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

“An A is certainly not a bad grade and I am grateful for it but all I feel now is devastation that my dream to attend one of the best maths colleges in the country has been shattered.”

Jack will instead study at Warwick University for the next four years to study Mathematics, Operational Research, Statistics and Economics (MORSE).

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.

Jack will also continue to tutor students through his Bracknell in Berkshire based tutoring business.

Dad Andy Graham expressed his disappointment that Jack has missed out on a spot at Oxford.

He said his son was “furious” and described the incident as a “bad joke”. He said his son had wanted to attend Lincoln College like Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who is known for his advocacy of maths as a subject.

Andy alleges that OCR had lost a paper on mechanics as part of Jack’s “further maths” A Level, which counted for 60 marks, two weeks prior to results day.

He claims that the calculation by OCR was “confusing” and noted that Jack had taken a second mechanics paper as part of his regular Maths A Level, in which he received 97/100 marks.

Andy added: “My son is, obviously, furious. He is finding this particularly hard because he feels cheated, nobody can tell him if he got an A* or not, so he has no closure.

“He wanted to apply for Lincoln College like Rishi Sunak. But unlike Rishi, we’re just regular people from ordinary streets and I can’t help but ask if he or his children would have been treated this way.”

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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