Result! NI grandfather (70) celebrates A-level success

Northern Ireland's oldest mature student has toasted A-level success aged 70.

Thursday, 16th August 2018, 3:14 pm
Updated Sunday, 2nd September 2018, 10:08 pm
A-level results day

Grandfather Ken Humes tutors mathematics and decided to enter the subject himself out of "curiosity".

He spent his career working in accounts and took a degree in mathematics.

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A-level results day

Mr Humes achieved an A-level grade B on Thursday despite not completing all the modules due to ill health.

He said: "It was just curiosity, I am not going to apply for a job.

"I am pleased and relieved that I have done it. I set myself up to be knocked down."

Mr Humes has three sons and two grandchildren and is originally from Irvinestown in Co Fermanagh, but now lives in Portrush on the north coast. He had to travel to Cookstown's Holy Trinity College to sit the exams after many other schools turned him down.

He said: "It is not as instinctive as previously. I just thought, 'I have to work harder at it'. The more often you do a topic the better you are at learning it, you have got to work at it from September."

He also entered GCSEs but has not told his students he sat the exams after studying alone for months.

He described sitting tests alongside teenagers and said the school had been fantastic.

"On day one it felt a bit odd but then I was made so welcome, every other day was fine," he said.

Mr Humes completed a mathematics A-level 50 years ago and reflected on the difference over the decades.

"The content of the exams has changed but that does not make it easier or more difficult. It is not fair to compare different generations," he said.

School principal Isabel Russell explained the decision to accept Mr Humes.

She said: "We are an inclusive school, our motto is that we try to give everyone the chance to do what they request.

"If an external (pupil) wants to come and sit an exam it is no different to an internal sitting the exam."