EPQ Success for Glenalmond Pupils

Glenalmond pupils are reaping the rewards of the opportunity to undertake an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ). George Pounder, Head of Classics and our EPQ Coordinator, gives an overview of the significant value the EPQ can deliver.

George PounderWe are delighted with the EPQ results achieved by Glenalmond pupils, with 50% receiving A*-B grades.

This year's results are an excellent achievement and reflect the work and commitment of our pupils who have delivered exceptional projects.

For those not in the know, the EPQ is a piece of A-level independent research conducted entirely by the pupils, but guided by a supervisor, who helps to oversee the direction of the project, but not the actual content. 

The EPQ shows that a candidate has already demonstrated skills universities like to see evidence of and strengthens their application.

So the good news is our pupils are also reaping the reward of their hard work and endeavour. In fact, half of the candidates have already received one or more reduced university offers based on the strength of their EPQ, and with many university offers still to come in before the deadline at the end of March, we expect this to increase further. 

Every year we have improved how we deliver this great qualification, and for this cohort, using Google software made the process much simpler. 

There are various sections that form part of the assessment, compiled in a log, which were much easier to administer with our new and finely honed Google skills, and we have developed this further with the current cohort. 

The finished projects were, as ever, impressive, varied, and fascinating. Twenty pupils submitted their projects, with research topics ranging from an examination into who actually won the 2016 Baseball World Series, to an analysis of how the archaic ideals on women and love changed from late Middle Age to early humanism. 

These were all topics chosen and researched by the pupils themselves, demonstrating just how interested and interesting Glenalmond pupils are. The EPQ offers an important opportunity for pupils to do something they feel really motivated to research: this is genuine inspiration, and it genuinely inspires us as teachers to see them rise to the challenge. 

I am very proud, once again, of the pupils for their inspiration and their perspiration over the EPQ, and of course grateful to the team of supervisors who help it all happen. 

Our new cohort presently numbers 43 pupils, so we are hoping to beat our EPQ participation record in November 2021!

The pupils themselves offered some reflections which give an insight into how they worked through the project. The observations of three pupils are below.

“My EPQ journey was one I am very thankful I started. I wrote about the prospect of introducing a new renewable energy source, namely nuclear fusion, and the effects it would have on the world, society and environment. Starting off early is key and keeping up steady progress is vital. It played a big part in my university application and writing my personal statement, where my university interviewers asked me extensively on the topic as I applied for chemical engineering. I uncovered many skills, discovering a lot about how I work and learn, how to focus my time, various writing skills and professionalism, and more, other than what I learnt on the topic of my EPQ through-out the journey. It’s an amazing opportunity, and a choice I’m happy I made.”

“I chose an area of research that centered around the brain as it is an area of science that I am deeply passionate about. This allowed me to understand aspects of my schoolwork better while deepening my knowledge of a topic that interests me. Participation in the EPQ has provided me with a chance to improve many vital skills that will greatly benefit me in later life. This includes independent research, time management and presentation skills. Most importantly, I learnt how to plan and manage a project.”

“My EPQ was about how, and why,  humans came about to rule the world and dominate the food chain. When I was trying to figure out what I wanted to research, I realized that the book I was reading left some questions unanswered, so I created a question based on these. At the end of my project, I realized that there is no one way of doing an EPQ, but that it is a malleable process where you learn as you go.”

You can find out more at our Online Open Day on March 13 or register to attend one of our March Taster events for pupils.