The Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) offers students the opportunity to explore in detail challenging topics of personal choice through the development of independent research skills.
The EPQ is a Level 3 qualification equivalent to an AS-level, and the department is staffed by a range of subject specialists from across the School, acting as one-to-one supervisors with students in timetabled lessons.
Pupils take an EPQ either in Years 10-11 in place of a GCSE or in Years 12-13 alongside Sixth Form studies. Pupils will gain valuable real-world skills in establishing a project proposal and research question, identifying and finding appropriate sources of information such as books, website and journal articles, researching the chosen topic over a sustained period and producing a written outcome to their research question - typically a 5,000 word extended essay, alongside a formal presentation. Projects can also take a more practical and creative dimension: in recent years EPQs have resulted in photographic exhibitions, computer modelling, openings to novels as well as podcasts and TV-style documentaries.
It is possible to complete an EPQ in almost any subject or topic, provided it is of an A-level standard. What students most enjoy about this course is the freedom it provides to work at one’s own pace and to one’s own strengths, while developing essential research skills so valued by universities and employers. As a department, we have experience of supervising hundreds of projects covering every conceivable subject area including the history of mathematics, sports psychology, the Classical world and art, culture and technology to name but a few.
To give a flavour of previous EPQ projects, past research questions have included:
- How effective is the action being taken to protect the black rhino from the threat of extinction?
- Does social media harm the mental health of young people?
- How significant a role did Gorbachev’s reforms play in the collapse of the Soviet Union?
- Do biomimicry applications have the potential to transform human wellbeing and medicine?
- Is government support for future vehicles powered by electricity rather than diesel and petrol environmentally short-sighted?
Our aim as a department is to produce students able to
- plan and see through complex multi-phase projects
- think independently and critically about ideas and concepts and
- see the connections between theories and concepts and how they apply to the real world around us.