EPQs & IRPs 2018
November 2018 was a busy month for many students in the Upper Sixth, as they presented their Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) or Independent Research Project (IRP).
On Friday 9th November, eleven of Bishop's Stortford College’s cohort of Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) students presented their work to an audience of their peers, staff, parents and governors. The event was set up in an exhibition style and guests were able to wander freely between the stands while the students introduced and discussed their work.
The EPQ is a Level 3 qualification, equivalent to an AS, that allows complete free rein to follow a particular passion. During their study, they have to learn and develop skills of independent planning, research, IT competence, presentation and evaluation. All of these are vital skills both for university and the world of work for these are the skills that employers value so highly. This year, there is a strong cohort taking the EPQ qualification and topics were very varied. Just some of the titles were A psychological analysis of fairy tales and their impact on children; What happens to the information which falls into a black hole?; How has Ebola impacted the economy of Sierra Leone? and Does the criminal justice system do enough to protect victims of rape and prevent injustice against innocent defendants?
The atmosphere in the Ferguson Lecture Theatre was truly electric: enthusiasm for their chosen topics was abundantly evident and the knowledge and skill with which they imparted this was highly impressive. Each student gave a mini-lecture and then answered questions from the audience. It was quite remarkable to see both the knowledge and confidence with which the students handled the afternoon. It really demonstrated the educational benefits of going above and beyond the curriculum. All of the students had constructed an annotated display board which charted both the content of their talk as well as the development of their skills in the EPQ. My sincere congratulations to all the students who were not only so professional in their delivery but also so impressive in their knowledge and passion for their subject. I would also like to thank both the supervisors and Ms Savva, who leads this subject.
A number of Upper Sixth students chose to study for an IRP and during tutorials in November they presented their findings to the adjudicators and the rest of the class. The IRP gives students the opportunity to focus on their independent study skills as they work towards the production of a dissertation, artifact or performance in any subject matter of their choice. Projects this year have included commercial aviation accidents over the last 40 years, stage combat, the depiction of women through art history and the effects of the Harvey Weinstein scandal on Hollywood.
The IRP differs from the EPQ in that the focus is almost entirely on content rather than skills. Students could produce an extended piece of work on anything that they find interesting, perhaps on something that isn't covered in the school curriculum. Maybe their desire is to tailor a project to a course that they intend to pursue at university. Many of our students go on to refer to their IRP content in their UCAS forms and discuss it personally with undergraduate tutors at interview.
To read about students' EPQs in 2017 please click here.
Linda Dickinson, Head of Sixth Form (EPQ) and Adrian Barlow, Chemistry (IRP)