This summer we celebrated the success of the first Loreto students to complete the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ). Thirty-four students took part in our launch year of the EPQ –half of them secured the highest A* grade with every student awarded a grade in the A*-B band.

The (EPQ), a Level 3 qualification which results in the award of the equivalent of half an A level, involves intensive research skills training plus extended independent project work by each student. The independent nature of the EPQ, where students can explore their own academic research interests and develop new skills in project planning and presentation, makes it a really effective bridge between A level and university study. The EPQ is increasingly forming part of university offers. Top universities and selective courses are keen to see students take the qualification. This year a number of students secured their first choice university offers because they had a high EPQ grade along with their A level results.

Projects completed this year covered everything from nanotechnology through to the ethics of veganism. Moderators praised the “impressive” quality of the projects and singled out Nathan Meades’ (pictured right) historical project on “The White Ship Disaster” and Georgina Gregory’s project on treatments for chronic myeloid leukaemia for particular praise.

Students presented their work for assessment in a “marketplace” academic poster event in April to staff, students and invited guests. This gave students the chance to talk about their work as experts – building their skills and confidence ready for their future studies at university.

Megan Royle who completed her A* EPQ on the under-representation of women in British politics said: “I would recommend the EPQ to everyone who has a passion for something, no matter how trivial they feel it is because this project not only teaches you new skills applicable to any subject or career, but enables you to research and discover things about an issue you are passionate about.”