Alongside their A-levels, pupils in the 6th Form are encouraged to undertake an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), an A-level equivalent qualification that can be worth up to 28 UCAS points.
The EPQ has been designed to develop a pupil’s research and investigative skills and allows them to embark on a largely self-directed project; this helps pupils develop the independent learning and extended academic writing skills essential for success at university.
Pupils identify a suitable research question or task and then plan, research and develop their idea. A project topic can be related to a pupil’s chosen university course, future career aspirations or simply be related to an area of interest or a hobby.
The final outcome of the EPQ can be in the form of a dissertation (5000 words) or, for those who seek to produce a practical outcome, this can be in the form of an artefact or performance, supported by a comprehensive written report of approximately 1000 words. As marks for the EPQ are awarded for evidence of the project process as well as the final outcome, pupils will need to fully evidence the development of their project by submitting a detailed production log and delivering an assessed presentation.
The EPQ is highly valued by universities because it extends a pupil’s ability to plan, research and write autonomously. It is also a useful introduction to the conventions of academic writing. The value placed upon the EPQ is also reflected in the policies of a number of universities, including several from the Russell Group.