Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

EPQ at A Level at Truro School Sixth Form

Our unique approach to delivering the EPQ is extremely effective at developing skills that are highly valued by universities and future employers, such as research, evaluation and presentation.

Head of Department: Mr Andrew Sampson

Likes: clarity, authenticity, the Cornish coastline, getting out and about with two young, energetic sons, spending time with interesting people when they’re talking about what they’re passionate about.

Dislikes: wasps, sloppiness, lack of inquisitiveness, over-reliance on technology.

Background/experience: Studied at Oxford and Bristol, gaining degrees in Biology and Theology. Trained as a science teacher and originally joined Truro School to teach sciences, Religious Studies, Philosophy of Religion and Critical Thinking. Outside of school I lead the leadership team of a local church and am involved in developing training for new church leaders.

The Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) is an opportunity to complement your A Levels by studying any subject or topic of your choosing and gain a recognised qualification (equivalent to half an A Level). Over five terms you work towards the completion of a final product that could be a dissertation, an investigation, a performance or an artefact.

Why study the EPQ at A Level?

The purpose of the EPQ is not to deliver a particular curriculum but to develop mature, independent learners who possess a range of thinking and study skills. The course is concerned with enabling seIf-motivated students to be extended in three different directions:

  • widening perspectives
  • deepening understanding
  • broadening skills.

Our experienced team of teaching staff offer expertise from a broad range of disciplines, and students are encouraged to collaborate with specialists in their chosen subject area from both inside and outside the school community.

What does the Extended Project Qualification A Level involve?

Course content for Lower Sixth:

  • Formulating a focused title or project brief
  • Identifying project objectives and rationale
  • Developing a clear project plan
  • Introduction to primary and secondary sources, including peer-reviewed journals
  • Assessing the credibility of source material (dissertation projects only)
  • Formatting a project
  • Proper referencing of sources and composing a bibliography
  • Developing and demonstrating skills in analysis and synthesis

Course content for Upper Sixth:

  • Writing a discussion section that includes arguments and counter-arguments (dissertation projects only)
  • Tutorials where staff offer guidance on a one-to-one basis
  • Evaluating your work
  • Gaining experience in peer- and self-assessment
  • Developing oral and visual presentation skills
  • Rehearsing presentations in front of peers

3 Reasons to Study an EPQ at A Level

  • The EPQ provides an opportunity for self-motivated learners to go beyond the confines of the A level curriculum and be independent, confident learners who develop projects tailored to their personal interests and passions.
  • Students are encouraged to take a high level of responsibility while also being provided with a high degree of support from a committed and experienced team of teachers.
  • It results in a qualification that is highly regarded by universities and represents half an A level.

What is a qualification in the EPQ useful for?

Anyone who has completed an Extended Project has had the opportunity to develop and demonstrate a wide range of key transferable skills that will be of great use at university and in the workplace.

Malcolm Trobe, deputy general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, says:

“Extended projects are becoming more and more popular. They are liked by universities and can help to strengthen a candidate’s application. They are phenomenally valuable in giving young people the opportunity to prepare themselves for university where they will spend much of their time studying and learning through their own research and reading.” (BBC report, August 2015)

Finally, the value of the EPQ in developing a student’s particular passion or interests cannot be underestimated.