'Tremendous feat': Young brainiacs rank in top five in the world at maths competition


According to his dad Clifford, Harrison has overachieved at maths since he was in primary school - Credit: Clifford Rabess

Young brainiacs from Ilford and Rainham have been ranked some of the top in the world in a maths competition.  

Harrison Rabess from The Campion School in Hornchurch and a pupil named as Fardin R from Ilford County School took part in World Maths Day 2022 from March 22-24.

Fardin came first in the world, while Harrison came first in his school, second in the country and fifth around the globe.

Year 7 pupil Harrison - who lives with his dad Clifford Rabess, 57, and sister Elizabeth, 13 - answered 786 questions correctly while Fardin got 921 questions right. 

Created by 3P Learning, the event sees students complete 20 of the 60-second live maths games, scoring one point for each correct answer.  

Harrison and Clifford

Harrison and his dad Clifford a couple of years ago - Credit: Clifford Rabess

Clifford has been a single parent to his children for six years after his wife Lisa passed away due to cancer. 

He said: “We [Lisa and Clifford] had a common goal to make sure the kids had a brilliant foundation and I've just been making sure they can achieve.” 

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According to the 57-year-old, the competition only allows for three incorrect answers.

“It’s a tremendous feat,” he added, noting his son's “amazing speed”.  

Formerly an auditor, Clifford said he taught his children maths from a “very young age”.  

“I went straight into teaching them the hard things first such as algebra and fractions so they weren't frightened. 

“I always say to them that 'this is just the beginning' and although you’re doing well now, you have to continue to move upwards.  

“The job's not done until you go to university and get your good grades, I say."  

Hall of fame

The World Maths Day Hall of Fame board - Credit: Clifford Rabess

He said Harrison enjoys playing rugby and one day hopes to play for England, has a strong interest in computing and coding, is part of the Havering Athletic Club and is currently learning Japanese.  

The 12-year-old also dreams of being knighted when he is older, his dad said.  

Harrison received a standing ovation at The Campion School, a £10 Amazon voucher and has been asked to feature in the competition’s marketing promos.  

His dad gave him a “big hug” and took him out to enjoy cake afterwards, something both siblings get to enjoy “when they achieve anything,” said Clifford.  

Harrison currently ranks at number 45 out of 100 on the mathematic platform’s Hall of Fame.  

The Campion School and Ilford County School were contacted for comment.


Harrison had the opportunity to play with his rugby team at Twickenham - Credit: Clifford Rabess