|Parents will no doubt be aware of the plethora of options now available at 16+, including the IB, Welsh Bac and Cambridge Pre-U qualifications.
We remain convinced that the best qualifications for Christ College pupils continue to be A levels, but are conscious that universities are anxious to see good independent research skills as well. To this end, we also run the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), which will run alongside A levels for more motivated pupils and will earn them UCAS points.
The Russell Group of universities has already validated this qualification as a demonstration of pupils' suitability for more demanding university courses.
The EPQ is an initiative which completely changes the mindset of traditional post-16 studies. It frees the pupil from the classical teacher led A-level classroom studies, and instead puts the onus on the pupil to pursue an idea or interest of their own and follow it through from conception to completion. En route the pupil will need to plan and research, learn to evaluate and re-evaluate their work, develop new skills, begin analysis and critical thinking, and finally be able to stand up and give a presentation in front of their peers and be questioned upon it.
Each student will be assigned their own individual assessor to guide them on their way.
In the course of the Project the student is beginning to develop those necessary key skills required for life at university and beyond. It is no surprise therefore that the Project has already been keenly welcomed by the Russell Group of universities, and it will clearly be beneficial on both the UCAS personal statement and at university interview.
The EPQ itself can be taken from any area of study and can take the form of either:-
- Dissertation - Research question –eg Humanities subject.
- Investigation/field study – Research question/hypothesis – eg scientific laboratory work, geography field studies, mathematical theorem.
- Performance – Drama/Sport/Music.
- Design an Artefact – DT/ IT website/Photography or Art.
The EPQ is an extra stand-alone qualification graded A*-E and worth up to 70 UCAS points (akin to an AS level.) As such it requires an equivalent length and depth of study over the course of a whole year. It is envisaged that it entails 120 hrs of student time, only one third of which will be teacher contact and with the remaining 80 hours made up of independent student research/work.
Each Project will involve a very extensive piece of work. It will not be for the faint-hearted, but for those students with the drive and commitment to see it through to the end it will represent a real sense of purpose and achievement.
Dr. Dominic Phelps
Extended Project Co-ordinator.