Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

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What is Extended Project about?

EPQ is an academic and independent research project comprising of 5000 words. It is an additional A-level course for those students who can already cope with three core A-levels and are willing to take on another stand-alone qualification via researching topics of their choice. EPQ a pre-undergraduate research thesis on similar level to undergraduate research work. EPQ helps students learn how to select suitable topic, carry out relevant research, complete research project independently and present it to an audience. It also develops critical thinking skills, enquiry-based mind-set, intellectual curiosity, creativity and numerous transferable skills.

What do we teach in Extended Project and why?

We teach students how to become academically mature and independent, while working on topics of their choice. All three pillars of Kingsmead’s curriculum are intersected in EPQ:

  1. Academic curriculum is realised through research focused on specific topics and areas of interest
  2. Behavioural curriculum is implemented on the level of close mentorship and one-on-one supervision work
  3. Readiness curriculum is delivered through a series of taught skills presentations

EPQ students are required to carry out, with appropriate supervision, several actions:

What does the Extended Project enable our students to do?

EPQ enables development of wide range of skills, many of which are formally assessed:

Manage - Identify, design, plan and carry out a project, applying a range of skills, strategies and methods to achieve objectives

Use Resources - Research, critically select, organise and use information, and select and use a range of resources. Analyse data apply relevantly and demonstrate understanding of any links, connections and complexities of the topic.

Develop and Realise - Select and use a range of skills, including, where appropriate, new technologies and problem-solving, to take decisions critically and achieve planned outcome.

Review - Evaluate all aspects of the extended project, including outcomes in relation to stated objectives and own learning and performance. Select and use a range of communication skills and media to present evidenced project outcomes and conclusions in an appropriate format.

The taught skills element consists of 30 guided hours. For EPQ students to be successful, it is necessary to develop a wide range of academic and personality skills. Those sessions serve this purpose. Students will be able to explore suitable topics, back-up their files, manage project and motivation, clarify aims and objectives, manage time, self-monitor progress, design content page of final report, carry out safety and risk assessment, select relevant and appropriate resources, choose reading strategies, validate and evaluate resources, carry out in-depth analysis and synthesis, record problem-solving and decision-making situation, carry out quantitative and qualitative data analysis, prepare oral presentation, deploy academic writing skills, use referencing and bibliography systems, make effective links to academic theories/concepts, review and evaluate completed projects, etc. In this way, our students become mature, independent and confident learners, ready to progress to the next stage of education or professional career.

How is the curriculum structured in Extended Project?

EPQ curriculum in Key Stage 5 relies on prior knowledge, skills and behaviours students develop during earlier stages of education, especially in English and Maths. In Key Stage 5 we offer four lessons of EPQ each week, 120 hours per school year. Each class of up to eight students is allocated to one Supervisor who works extensively with each student and marks final products. Students benefit from working one-on-one with the Supervisor. Both quantitative and qualitative assessment of student progress takes place, as well as in-depth analysis and advice. There are seven assessment meetings with each student during school year, each meeting taking roughly one hour. In addition, there is a taught skills element comprising of 30 hours. Those are sessions during which all students are taught different skills and how to deliver various parts of their projects.

Most of research projects lead to 5000 words thesis. If a project is based around art work, such as creating a piece of music, novel, sculpture, etc., then written essay would take less word count, proportionally to time input into creating a piece of art work. For example, if it takes 60 hours to create a piece of music or sculpture, accompanying essay could drop to 3000 words.

What specifications do we follow?

AQA EPQ-7993

What are the links between Extended Project and other subjects?

Due to academic nature of the course, we recommend that students have a reasonable grasp of Maths and English. EPQ blends in well with any combination of A-level subjects. As a fourth A-level subject, EPQ brings flexibility to students who would like to complete research on a topic of their choice. As students are free to choose an area of their interest, we have had a wide range of projects from economics, business, philosophy, medicine, neuroscience, space travel, genetic research, state prison system, music, textiles, sport, feminism, ethical debates, media, psychology, religion, politics, labour market, mental health, film industry, war, culture, physiotherapy, racial relationships, LGBT, romantic relationships, astronomy, crime, global health, elderly care, fashion, evolution, etc.

What are the future careers students can take when they study Extended Project?

EPQ provides useful foundation for diverse academic and career pathways. It is particularly valuable for those students considering a career in chosen field of their research topic. EPQ serves a purpose to explore and deepen career interests and develop a wide range of academic and transferable skills that will be useful beyond secondary school.

What extra-curricular activities can students take part when you study Extended Project?

Students are offered a variety of extra-curricular opportunities, which consist of visits to numerous academic establishments, such as British Library, as well as a range of university libraries at Queen’s Mary, UCL, SOAS, King’s College and Imperial College. In addition, we host guest lecturers who provide our students with insights into modern academic trends and research in related fields.

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