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The ability to work independently and to take responsibility for one’s own learning is highly valued by both future employers and by universities. A core element of the Sixth Form at St Martin’s School is for all students to undertake an individual research project: the Extended Project Qualification [EPQ].

The EPQ is a piece of personal research that requires students to plan, prepare, complete and present a project on a topic or theme of their own choosing but separate to their other A-Level examination work. Students will be assigned a staff mentor to guide, support and assess their work, which will be completed between April in Year 12 and December in Year 13. The project is valued as half an A-Level but is of A-Level,  standard and will be graded A* - E for a successful project.

Whilst of educational value in itself, the undertaking of the project will give students a unique experience to refer to in job and university applications and discuss at interview. Many universities are welcoming the development of the EPQ and are adjusting their entry requirements accordingly. The successful completion of the project will help universities and employers differentiate between equally strong applicants and give an advantage in the competition for university places and jobs.

The EPQ is a research project of 5000 words. A student can include the production of an artefact, or event if they wish and reduce the word count to a minimum of 1000 words. Students must also present the finding of their work to an audience of their peers. The project is therefore an opportunity to undertake a piece of serious research, demonstrate written skills, planning and organisational skills, self-motivation and presentation skills.

Students will meet with their mentor in Year 12 to allow them time to consider and agree a suitable topic and for the planning process to begin. The written work will be completed and needs to be finished before any A-Level examinations. Many students will choose to do most of the work after the AS examinations are completed and will continue through the summer.

Presentations will take place following the completion of the work and results will be published alongside A-Level results and the award of the Baccalaureate.

Last year, many students found their offer from university was altered in their favour if they had completed a relevant EPQ.