Swindon pupil is one of UK's top young maths stars

By Barrie Hudson - 27 July 2021


A Year 7 pupil at Lawn Manor Academy has achieved the school’s highest ever score in one of the UK’s most difficult maths challenges.

  • Young maths star Patrick Gillen with teacher Freya Koza

    Young maths star Patrick Gillen with teacher Freya Koza

Patrick Gillen, 12, won Gold and Best in School in the UK Mathematics Trust’s Junior Mathematical Challenge.

He is the first pupil from Lawn Manor Academy to reach the national event, in which only around 2,000 of the very best performers in the UK are invited to take part.

Freya Koza, who teaches maths at Lawn Manor Academy, which is part of the Royal Wootton Bassett Academy Trust, said: “When maths teachers look at the question papers even they gulp, knowing the pupils taking part will be trying to solve the problems in their heads, rather than with the help of calculators.

“But Patrick, who is in the younger of the two school years competing, was completely unfazed, and just got on with the challenge. 

"We are tremendously proud of him. He has managed to achieve an amazing feat getting into the Olympiad, and we’ll all be rooting for him to do as well as he possibly can.”

Each year, the UK Mathematics Trust sets pupils from years 7 and 8 high-quality problems to encourage mathematical thinking. 

Pupils who take part sit two applied maths papers under exam conditions, and have to complete them using mental arithmetic, as calculators are not allowed.

Patrick is modest about his wins.

“I enjoy doing maths problems, that’s the way my mind works,” he said.

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