The Advisory Committee on Mathematics Education (Acme) says the number of pupils taking the GCSE early has more than doubled in the past two years. It blames a target-driven culture and head teachers putting the interests of their school above those of pupils. The Department for Education (DfE) says schools can make their own judgements.
Official figures for England, Wales and Northern Ireland show almost 10.9% of those sitting GCSE maths (83,179 pupils) in 2010 were aged 15 or younger, compared with less than 4.5% (32,908) in 2008.
Acme says this rise is being driven predominantly by schools in England keen to improve their rankings in school league tables - a grade C or above in maths is part of the official accountability measure used by the government (five A* to Cs, including maths and English).