Oxford to turn away child prodigies

Yinan Wang, the 14-year-old Chinese boy who clinched a place at Oxford University last week,

will be the last child prodigy to study there under reforms being considered by admissions tutors. Children barely in their teens being offered places, the university is considering an unprecedented blanket rule on minimum ages for undergraduates. “The admissions executive is in discussions around whether we should introduction a minimum age of 17 for undergraduates,” confirmed Ruth Collier, a spokesperson for admissions to Oxford. “We have been pushed to consider it, not because its psychologically healthy for children to study here, but because of child protection laws which have come into play this year for the first time.” Oxford is the only university in Britain that currently accepts undergraduates who are under the age of 17.

The Children Act, which was introduced last March, gives all those who work with children a legal duty to protect the young. “Because no other university accepts children, the government

have produced no guidance on how higher education establishments should implement it,” said Collier. lists concerns including not leaving children on their own with adults and making sure that any teachers with whom they come into contact have had a criminal records check. Children can no longer live in student accommodation, because the university could not carry out a criminal record check on every other undergraduate sharing the same premises.