Initially developed for gifted students, we encourage all our students to undertake the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ).
An opportunity for all
At St Mary's, we believe that the EPQ allows students across the ability range to develop valuable skills, in a way that suits their particular interests and learning style.
What is an EPQ?
The EPQ is a recognised qualification, awarded on completion of a research project on any topic. Students research a topic and then produce one of the following:
- Research based written report
- Production (e.g. a charity event, fashion show or sports event)
- An artefact (e.g. a piece of art, computer game or realised design)
Completing the EPQ requires self-discipline, creative and critical thinking, resilience and independent research, skills that are highly-valued by universities and employers.
Freedom to stand out
The EPQ is a chance to be original and individual, free from the limited syllabus structure of A Levels. We support our students to pursue topics that reflect their individuality and talents.
EPQ topics at St Mary's Sixth Form:
- Technology as a tool to combat human trafficking
- How English is the music of Henry Purcell, 'England's greatest composer?
- An analysis of possible explanations of psychopathy, with particular reference to violent offences
- What have physics and biology contributed to the psychological research behind language acquistion?
More examples of EPQ projects
How it works
The EPQ is undertaken during the Lower Sixth, continuing until the following Autumn Term of Upper Sixth.
Autumn Term (Year 12)
- Autumn Term (Year 12), students kick off their project, supported by our EPQ Co-ordinator. Two lessons per fortnight explore ethical and practical considerations of research projects. Critical thinking skills such as planning and Gantt charts; critical analysis; credibility criteria; research methods; interviewing techniques; surveying tactics; interpreting statistics; report writing, and much more are considered.
- By February, most students have selected their topic and begin four one-to-one meetings with our EPQ Co-ordinator allows time to discuss, finalise and review their research project.
- In June, another one-to-one meeting takes place, once the initial research has been completed.
- Over summer, girls will undertake primary research – for instance through surveys and questionnaires or site visits – analysing the information they have found, and beginning to construct their projects.
- In November (Year 13), a third one-to-one meeting, in which students can discuss their summer progress and iron out any issues.
- In December, after a final one-to-one meeting, students finalise their project ready for submission before the Christmas break.
“University admissions officers hold the EPQ qualification in extremely high regard.The primary, and enduring, benefit of the project, however, is the key skills the girls develop simply by working through the project process. For university admissions officers, future employers and colleagues, and even for the girls themselves, these skills are invaluable.”