AS ANY teenager will tell you, getting an A grade in GCSE maths is a tough challenge.

But a Salisbury schoolboy has done just that at the age of nine.

Joseph Fry only began studying the syllabus in January.

Yet the Pitton Primary School pupil took the exam in his stride six months later, and is already planning to start work on an A-level.

He said: “It has been hard work, but I’m glad it has paid off. It’s really been worth it.”

Joseph’s parents, James and Tracey, are thrilled but not surprised.

Mr Fry said: “We always knew he was incredibly gifted as he taught himself to read when he was very young.

“He then taught himself arithmetic, so with his skills evident we decided to take him to an academic psychologist.”

Joseph was then offered the chance to sit the exam at Leehurst Swan School in Salisbury.

“It was a lot more work than he thought it would be,” said his father, “and it took us a bit by surprise how much work there was.”

He added: “It didn’t matter, though, as he loves maths and really enjoyed doing it.”

The couple are mystified about where their son’s talent comes from.

“We are not into maths at all,” said Mr Fry, who runs Salisbury IT firm BlueFrontier.

Tracey, an accountant, said: “It’s astonishing. He’s done so well. We are extremely proud of him.”

The youngster’s achievement is all the more remarkable because he developed epilepsy two years ago, and has to take daily medication to control his seizures.

His father said: “The last two years have been really tough for him, especially when the medication he is on comes with a wide range of side effects.

“But he manages all of it without complaint.”

Despite his achievement, Joseph’s parents are keen to ensure that he continues to enjoy a normal childhood.

“He is a long way ahead of his age group, it is unique,” said Mr Fry.

“But we need to make sure he remains a nine-year-old and learns to build relationships.

“He is just a normal, loving boy with a unique gift.”

Joseph has a brother at Bishop Wordsworth’s School and a sister at South Wilts.