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EPQs: inspiring and expanding vital HPL skills in Sixth Form

EPQs: inspiring and expanding vital HPL skills in Sixth Form

As a High Performance Learning school, we take every opportunity to help students to be active participants in their own learning, taking seriously our responsibility to equip them with a toolkit that will enable them to thrive as independent lifelong learners.

Young people today require independence, resilience and discipline to manage complex multi-step projects – these skills central to the 21st-century workplace. Our independent learning culture shows its ultimate expression in the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) outcomes achieved by our Sixth Formers.
The EPQ aims to inspire, enthuse, and motivate, by allowing students to develop or extend a variety of skills through the completion of a free choice of project. Students pursue a theme/topic of personal interest or choose to study something entirely new.

Students have responsibility for managing all stages of the project alongside their A Level studies. The flexible approach, including the freedom of choice of topic, allows students to work individually or as part of a group. Assessment is based predominantly on the process rather than the outcome. Students develop the ability to make decisions by taking charge of the project from design through planning and development, to presentation to an audience and reflection and critical evaluation of its success.

Each student is encouraged to present their outcome(s) in a way that is appropriate to their chosen theme/topic and the project aims and objectives. This could be a performance/event, design, report, dissertation or artefact. EPQs open up the potential for a real breadth of study and enrichment, fostering independence, research, problem-solving and project management skills along the way. This qualification also necessitates collaboration and critical engagement with the theme/topic of the project, building a ‘can-do’ attitude and offering students the opportunity to explore something that really interests them in-depth. All of this is great for nurturing HPL skills and attributes!

EPQ titles from this year included:
  • Photographing life in lockdown versus life out of lockdown
  • The mental health and social impact of Covid-19 on individuals with Autism
  • Research fashion by decade with a view to designing an outfit based on these genres
  • A beginner’s guide to British law and politics
  • How does social media affect people?
  • Designing and building a Garden Hut
  • Research in supporting individuals with speech and language impairment using augmentative and alternative communication tools to communicate
  • Designing and creating a sustainable wedding dress
  • My origin - an exploration of inheritance and culture
  • Guide to the season six technical challenges of The Great British Bake Off
  • Designing and producing diamond jewellery
  • The study, design, realisation and sale of effective medical masks
  • Creating an edited film using raw footage to show an improvement in my skills in post-production
  • The difference between an endurance runner and a sprinter – including following and completing a half marathon
  • Using social media to promote mental health and mental disorders like Dissociative Identity Disorder
  • The effect of Covid-19 in LIDCs – (low income developing countries)
  • How Covid-19 has impacted UK charity clothing shops
  • Creating a guide to the Iranian hostage crisis
  • Creating a low cost cook book
  • The use of colour in interior design
  • To what extent can someone with a full life with Sickle Cell Disease?
  • Creation of a zero waste cook book
  • Is cosmetic dentistry ethical?
  • What made the West African Ebola epidemic (2013-2016) the worst ever in history?
  • Designing and knitting a reusable plastic bag out of single-use plastic bags
  • The decline of languages

The richness and breadth of this independent learning feeds back into other A Level studies and equips students with the creativity, confidence, and initiative needed to thrive in higher education and beyond.

Kate Latham, Director of Teaching and Learning

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