no, its a pretty standard model for many entry requirements. getting an exam done early counts for nothing in many situations, because it is easy. Doing a digital photography GCSE stand alone is not demanding, anyone could do it, it doesn't indicate any particular potential. But that is only if the subject is then dropped, as most are. If he then continues with digital photography, and develops further during his GCSE years, and can evidence that, that is different. Like a musician taking exams young, and then continuing to develop further, or, as in some schools, taking maths early, then going on to a further maths qualification, etc. There is a difference between taking stand alone qualifications then dropping the subject, and being further along the path than GCSE during your GCSE year. If this child wishes to use this qulification to count towards their sixth form application, they will need to show how they have progressed beyond GCSE in the time after taking the exam. or delay, and take the exam at the end of year 10, when it will count? The other consideration is what happens if they don't get a top grade? It still has to go on every application, particularly university applications, and they consider it to be criminal fraud not to declare all exams, including those that show the applicant in a bad light.