Options at 16 - The Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

Updated: May 21

Alongside A levels and BTECs, many schools and colleges offer the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) which is a dissertation or project created on the basis of independent research. It is a Level 3 qualification usually taken in Year 12 or 13 and can help to encourage independent learning and prepare students for university or further study.

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The Extended Project Qualification

A different approach to learning

There’s minimum supervision for EPQs and your child will be expected to complete their project independently. This means that research, structure and composition of the project is down to your child, as is meeting deadlines. This approach is much closer to what will be expected at university (or even in the workplace) and can be a good way to help your child develop the skills they will need when they leave school or college. However, this style of working doesn't suit everyone, so check whether your child can cope with the added pressures an EPQ may bring, particularly if they have an already demanding school schedule.

What can my child choose to do as their EPQ?

Students can choose the subject matter for their EPQ and there are very few restrictions on what angle they might choose to take. This provides an excellent opportunity to focus the EPQ on their interests, hobbies or future degree or career plans.

The EPQ can also take different forms and options include writing a 5000-word essay, building an artefact or conducting a performance with a shorter report of around 1000 words.

Some examples of EPQ titles include:

  1. Is it right that football players are paid 1000 times more than a nurse?

  2. Was the 2016 EU referendum legally binding?

  3. Is it ethical to have a child to save another child’s life?

  4. Can large-scale charity fundraising, such as Live Aid and Comic Relief, do more harm than good?

  5. Should we use parkland in London to build housing for the homeless?

  6. A comparative analysis of the German and British responses to the coronavirus pandemic.

What are the benefits of doing an EPQ?

  • It can give your child academic confidence;

  • It can help them prepare for further education;

  • It can help your child demonstrate passion for a topic or subject – particularly helpful if they are applying for an apprenticeship or university course in the same subject area as their EPQ;

  • It can be a useful talking point during an interview;

  • It can help your child develop key skills, which are useful in the workplace; and

  • It can be incredibly rewarding!

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How will my child be assessed?

The EPQ is an internally assessed qualification. Students will need to produce a production log documenting their journey; a written report, artefact or performance; supplementary evidence; and a presentation with time at the end to respond to questions.

Students will be assessed against four objectives and will includ