For our Sixth Form pupils, The Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) is an optional extra that pupils can choose to take alongside their A level subjects, which aims to promote academic skills and independent learning and is a single piece of work that pupils choose to undertake on a topic of their choosing. Throughout their EPQ, pupils develop skills that are transferrable to undergraduate learning such as dissertation writing, planning, academic research, presentation skills and time management.

Choosing to do the EPQ alongside their A level studies is a significant undertaking for pupils. The course sees pupils attend workshops to learn more about the research required, whilst they decide upon their specific focus for their independent work, which often compliments existing subject studies or compliments the course they wish to apply for at university. With ongoing support and supervision, pupils complete an independent study culminating in either a dissertation of around 5,000 words or the creation of an artefact with supporting analysis.

The evening was a great success and one member of staff commented, I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed yesterday’s EPQ evening. From my point of view, it was one of the best events I have seen at St John’s in terms of what it demanded and delivered from the pupils: engagement, poise, research, knowledge, and theoretical synthesis. I spoke to a handful of pupils and I got the definitive sense of engagement and knowledge and was impressed by them all.’

Head of EPQ, Richard Harvey commented: ‘It was truly a privilege to see the Lower Sixth being the experts in the room and how quickly any nerves were forgotten as they engaged with their audience about their chosen topics. One of the main benefits of doing an EPQ is the opportunity to learn skills that will be an assistance for tertiary education: research, referencing, evaluating sources, time management and the pupils were particularly adept at thinking on their feet.’

This year, pupil’s projects have explored a fantastic range of topics and questions as diverse as:

  • ‘Does Wealth have a direct correlation with happiness?’
  • ‘Should diplomatic immunity exist?’
  • ‘An analysis of social media usage and its subsequent effect on the mental, social and physical health of adolescents and young adults’
  • ‘As the world recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic what can be learnt from the 2008 financial crisis and the 1929 Great Depression to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past?’
  • ‘Is freedom of speech under threat in the UK?’