A 12-year-old pupil from Milton Keynes is set to be the first child to publish a research paper in a mainstream academic journal in the UK.
Eleanor Denny from Loughton Middle School has had her paper accepted by the British Journal of Music Education , subject to minor amendments, and it is due to be published within the next few months.
Mary Kellet, director of the Children's Research Centre at the Open University, supervised Eleanor throughout her research.
"Eleanor approached her research into the link between extracurricular music lessons and life expectations in a very mature way. We were impressed by the way she took on the importance of reading around the subject, and she even conducted an in-depth literature review. Even at 12, she has a good mind for research," Dr Kellet said.
The article follows the publication last year of two other papers written by children and published in the journal Children and Society . But Eleanor's is the first child-authored paper to be accepted by a leading academic journal that usually restricts itself to publishing research carried out by full-time academics.
The paper is an example of "participatory research", where members of the public undertake studies into subjects that affect them. The method is witnessing a surge of interest among social scientists.
But not all are convinced. One academic complained: "It serves a political agenda, providing those affected with another platform for their views without actually advancing the research process. You don't need to be affected by an issue to understand it - you don't need to have been Caesar to understand Caesar."