A group of Year 14 students has embarked on a new course at Shimna, the Extended Project Qualification. The EPQ, which is worth half an A Level in terms of UCAS points, not only allows students to choose their own specialised subject but also the format of the final piece - examples including a dissertation, a work of art or a musical or drama piece.
The EPQ places great emphasis on independent research and self-directed learning, which can help to bridge the gap between school and Further Education.
Our EPQ Coordinator is Mr Nesbitt, Head of Business Studies, emphasises its value on our curriculum:
“EPQ gives students opportunities to develop their time-management, organisational, research and essay writing skills. They learn how to confidently research, compile and present a report, ultimately teaching them skills they need for university.
One of the many good things about it is that it’s unique for every student - they decide their area of focus and enables them to self-prepare for life after Sixth Form. For that reason, as a qualification it’s looked on very favourably by universities in the UK and Ireland as it shows what students can do when they undertake specialised independent research.”
Regarding her reasons for choosing the EPQ, student Alice Cutler said: “I choose to undertake EPQ as it gives me an extension to my current studies and allows me to refine skills I will need at university. The project I decided on for my EPQ will help me confirm if my chosen degree course is what I want as a career and help prepare me for further study of this subject at university.”
Classmate Ryan Miller agrees: “I chose EPQ to better prepare me for a successful transition from Sixth Form to university. I also wanted to research an area I am interested in for a degree prior to university to help me decide if the courses I have applied to best suit me.”
Between them, the first cohort of Shimna students has chosen a fascinating range of topics, including the Arthurian legends, AI and cybersecurity, a musical composition, the effect of cosmetics on teenage mental health and the rise of ACL injuries in women’s football.