An EPQ (Extended Project Qualification) is an independently researched project, carried out over Year 12 and 13 and supervised by a member of staff. It gives students the opportunity to explore and research in depth an area of personal interest. Girls can relish the intellectual freedom of choosing their area of research – it does not have to relate to their chosen A Levels, it is more important to study something they are passionate about. They begin the process of working under a supervisor which will stand them in good stead once they reach university. Their supervisor is usually a senior member of staff none of whom are specialists in the student’s chosen area which ensures that each student directs her own research and the content of the finished project. We also have strong support from our colleagues at the University of Oxford, the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and other local experts. Leading universities regard the EPQ highly as it demonstrates intellectual rigour and our students enjoy the independent learning skills it teaches them before they move onto their next phase of academic life. We are very proud of the excellent results our EPQ students achieve, particularly the 100% A* success rate achieved in 2015 which we feel shows the benefit studying for an EPQ can bring to a girl’s A level studies.
Students produce either a researched dissertation or a practical piece, such as a drama production, a piece of creative writing, an exhibition or film and must present their findings to an audience of fellow students and staff. These evening and lunchtime presentations occur throughout the year. Topics chosen cover the entire academic range and recent presentations have included perceptions of the medical profession in the media, women in the 18th century, a photographic exhibition about Chinese medicine, space travel to Mars, the psychology of advertising, HIV research, and the healing properties of laughter.