The EPQ at The John Lyon School
Developing the independent learning capacities of boys is a strong focus for The John Lyon School and the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) provides an excellent opportunity for Sixth Formers to pursue an area of interest that lies outside or beyond their A-level studies. The aim of the programme is to equip students with many of the cognitive and practical capabilities required for higher education through a programme of independent, but guided, study.
The EPQ is a stand-alone A2-level qualification that involves the production of a 5000-word report, a detailed candidate log which documents the project process, and a presentation to teachers, peers and parents. As an alternative to an extended essay, boys have the option to produce ‘an artefact’ (e.g. short film, compilation of poetry, photography portfolio) with an accompanying 1000-word report instead of an extended essay. There are no restrictions on the topic of study; boys are free to investigate any area of interest.
Delivery of the EPQ
Prior to study leave in the Lower Sixth, boys are invited to apply for a place on the EPQ. Those that are successful begin the programme once they return from their AS-Level examinations. At this point, each candidate is allocated a supervisor who oversees the completion of the project from start to finish.
After in-school group sessions and a one-day research skills programme at the University of Hertfordshire, boys formally propose a project title and begin their intensive research. Much of the research for the EPQ is completed over the summer break.
During the Upper Sixth year, the EPQ is timetabled for one hour each week – a designated time for one-to-one supervisor sessions or group activities. Final drafts and artefacts are submitted during the Autumn Term, with EPQ presentations following after the Christmas break. Boys receive a fully accredited grade from the exam board (AQA) at the same time as their A-Level results.
In recent years, EPQ titles have been as broad as:
To what extent does organised religion have a positive impact on modern secular and theocratic societies?
To what extent were the superpowers in the Cold War on the brink of mutually assured destruction?
To what extent are superhero movies of the 21st century a reaction to the American socio-political anxieties of the period after 9/11?
Benefits of the EPQ
The EPQ is a unique learning opportunity for boys at The John Lyon School. Not only does it provide a valuable opportunity for stretch and challenge, but it is designed to develop the independent learning skills required for success at university and beyond. The EPQ is held in high regard by university admissions tutors; applicants with an EPQ frequently receive reduced offers and it is a common topic at Oxbridge interviews.
‘The potential benefits of extended projects are enormous. They give students the opportunity to get deeply involved in a subject that interests them, to develop research and critical thinking skills, to pull together learning from other subjects and to develop extended writing skills - all of which are hugely valuable preparation for university study.’ Dr Geoff Parks, ex-Director of Admissions, Cambridge University.
The Head of the EPQ at The John Lyon School is Mr Ahsan and he can be contacted at JEA@johnlyon.org