The EPQ Challenge

Sixth Form students who are performing well across all of their subjects have the opportunity to undertake the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) as an extra course. Students choose their own topic, plan and conduct research independently before presenting their findings to their peers and teachers.

An EPQ is the equivalent of half an A Level and requires dedication from students who undertake it. As it is an independent piece of work, they receive only limited guidance which ensures they remain on track with the project.

This year, twelve students in the Sixth Form decided to undertake the extra course. Topics chosen varied greatly from looking at whether Japan’s aging population is leading to the country’s decline and whether fashion marketing is the most significant factor contributing to low self-esteem in young women.

Acting Head of Sixth Form, Mr Sam Shaw, said “Students who do an EPQ take on a considerable amount of extra work on top of their already demanding A Level work load. An EPQ is certainly an asset on a university application as it shows determination and the ability to work and think independently; however, we always advise students to think carefully about doing an EPQ as it can be challenging.”

After his presentation on ‘History is Written by the Victors’: To what extent is this evident in the Falklands conflict? Benjamin Ayaydin was asked about the difficulties of his research. He responded, “Doing a historical topic meant that there was so much material to look through. A lot of my time was spent on doing research and trying to bring it all together.”

Mr Shaw explained, “The EPQ is very time-consuming but it also gives a great taste of what university will be like: contact hours will be limited and a high level of independent learning is expected. I’m very proud of our students who completed their EPQ this year. Their topics were original and thought-provoking. They didn’t shy away from difficult and controversial subjects including the UK’s legal system, the Syrian civil war and the glass ceiling. Their hard work resulted in high quality and well thought-out presentations which were a pleasure to attend.”

The EPQs will be assessed and students will receive their marks in the summer.

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