Former RAF engineer, 92, passes GCSE maths after learning online

·Freelance Writer
·2-min read
Derek Skipper took his Maths GCSE in May and has passed with flying colours. (SWNS)
Derek Skipper took his maths GCSE in May and has passed with flying colours. (SWNS)

A former RAF engineer has passed his maths GCSE with flying colours – at the age of 92.

Derek Skipper joined teenagers across the country in nervously opening up their exam results on Thursday – and it was a happy day for the grandad of three.

Derek, from Owell, Cambridgeshire, achieved a grade five, the highest possible on the foundation paper he took – the equivalent of a high C/low B in the old GCSE grading system.

He said he is “very, very pleased” about his results, after he started a Zoom course run by the Cam Academy Trust in Cambridge in September “to keep his mind occupied”.

Derek said: "When I started out on the course in September, it was very low key and I didn't tell anyone I was even doing it, as I thought if I don't finish it then it's embarrassing so I kept very quiet until Christmas time.

"The results didn't matter to me at all, I was just doing it for my own fun.”

He encouraged others – especially elderly people – to take up an online course.

Derek Skipper achieved a grade five, the highest possible on the foundation paper he took. (SWNS)
Derek Skipper achieved a grade five, the highest possible on the foundation paper he took. (SWNS)

He added: "I think it is such a disappointment that people don't take up these opportunities.

"On a Zoom system, it is so easy for elderly people as going out to college in the night time and the winter is not very nice.

"But when it comes to your door and you are sat in front of a screen with a good instructor, it is wonderful.

"Start the course this September, and go to your local college and turn around and say that you want to take an exam.

"Why not have a go?"

Derek Skipper encouraged others – especially elderly people – to take up an online course. (SWNS)
Derek Skipper encouraged others – especially elderly people – to take up an online course. (SWNS)

Derek only missed one day of school during the Second World War – when a bomb blew his front door on to his bicycle wheel and left him with a puncture.

He earned five School Certificates – the precursor to O Levels and the equivalent to GCSEs – including maths, which was gained with the help of a slide rule and book of tables.

After leaving school, he signed up for the RAF at 18 to learn a trade and became a radar fitter.

He is also trying to convince wife Nancy to take a GCSE, but so far she has declined to follow in her husband’s footsteps.

Despite his exam success, he currently doesn't have any plans to take any more GCSEs.

He said: "I think that is going to be my lot and I'm going to retire now.

"Having one is enough for me."