Bright spark

February 23, 1996

He is a part-time electronic engineering student at the University of Plymouth. He is sponsored by British Aerospace. He has been awarded the City and Guilds Silver Medal for outstanding achievement in electronics. His favourite publication is The Beano.

The world of technology has always held a special fascination for 11-year-old Jamie Baxter-Martin. As a baby, he was always trying to discover how plugs and electronic equipment work. By four, he had built two working radios from kits given by his parents.

Now he has a GCSE in electronics, City and Guilds qualifications in electronics servicing, a BTEC qualification in electronics, and is studying for a degree.

Yet in any other respect he is just a normal boy, a fact his parents are very proud of and which they attribute to their determination to keep his schooling as normal as possible while taking advantage of extra teaching support in further and higher education.

His father, Philip Baxter-Martin, is against special schools and acceleration programmes: "If you take them away from their school environment you take away their childhood."

This is despite the fact that Jamie received very little support at primary school, where teachers could not accept he had special abilities. It was not until his parents followed up the advice of technology experts at the University of Plymouth and enrolled Jamie in a college evening class, that his talents were fully recognised.

"Exams don't really worry me. I do quite a bit of revising," Jamie says. But The Beano is still at the top of his essential reading list.

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