Two formal project qualifications are offered to College pupils and they both encourage the development of independent learning skills along with representing a valuable opportunity to move beyond the set curriculum. The qualifications also lead to the award of a GCSE or A Level grade and are taken in addition to the subjects being studied.
Higher Project Qualification (HPQ)
The College offers an exciting opportunity to take a GCSE level, project based qualification. The HPQ is similar to the EPQ offered at Sixth Form and can be a good preparation for it.
Why is it a good idea?
- It gives pupils the chance to develop skills of independent learning at Year 10 and provides the opportunity to try something outside or beyond the scope of the main curriculum.
- It encourages self-determination and ownership of a project.
- Pupils decide on the title and the form it will take; we provide the tools, teach the skills and help the pupil to create a piece of work which is truly theirs.
- The scope is very broad, it could be: an essay, a piece of creative writing, poetry, a science project, an artefact, a work of art, a plan for a performance. Pupils decide, pupils make it happen.
Who is it for?
- It is for pupils who are self-motivated and inquisitive.
- It is particularly useful for anyone intending to go to university because it gives them a head start in the kind of academic research, critical thinking, problem solving and report writing expected at university.
- It is also really good stepping stone to the EPQ in Year 12, which reinforces and develops these skills still further.
What does it entail?
- A programme of skills lessons to support work on the project. These give the basic building blocks to enable the pupils to create a competent piece of work and demonstrate skills in project management.
- A log of the pupil’s progress, and particularly any developments or changes they may make in their plan. This is almost as important as the product itself as it demonstrates the ability to adapt and modify and respond to changes and difficulties pupils may encounter.
- The final product, with an evaluation of the project process.
- A presentation about the product and the process of creating it delivered to a non-specialist audience.
The key word is independence, each pupil will have a supervisor who is there to support and advise, but not to do the work for them. They are expected to do the ‘leg work’, using the skills presented in the skills sessions.
The whole process will be completed by the beginning of October, thus giving pupils the summer holidays to complete the final product in time for a presentation at the beginning of Year 11.
Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)
As part of their Sixth Form studies, pupils are invited to consider the possibility of undertaking an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ).
This relatively new qualification is valued highly by universities because it shows that pupils have cultivated, and can demonstrate, many of the skills required in undergraduate study, including the ability to work independently, to undertake research and to manage and complete a sustained piece of work. The EPQ offers pupils an exciting opportunity to explore a topic or area of personal interest in depth, to deepen an existing interest, or to discover a new area of interest entirely. The emphasis in the Project is on analysis, but the Project itself may take several different forms: some pupils might choose to write a research based report, others to design an artefact. The only requirement is that the topic chosen should look beyond the pupil’s A Level syllabuses. Many pupils will decide to undertake a project at the beginning of Year 12, with the intention of submitting their work in the May of that academic year. The EPQ is graded on an A* – E scale.
Any pupil interested in undertaking a project will be asked to identify a broad area of interest. They will then be assigned a member of the academic staff who will act as the pupil’s Supervisor, and with whom they will work for the duration of the project. In order to help them plan, research, develop and realise their idea, pupils will also receive two timetabled lessons per week. Here they will learn a range of study skills designed to help them complete the project successfully.
The Extended Project Qualification offers an exciting and liberating opportunity for any Sixth Form pupil who wishes to work on a largely self-directed and self-motivated project and to broaden their intellectual horizons.
Further details of the AQA Level 3 EPQ used at the College can be found at here.