A programme of Project Qualification work is now firmly embedded within the curriculum at Farnborough Hill, with the Foundation Project Qualification (FPQ) or Higher Project Qualification (HPQ) being offered to girls in Year 9 and the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) being introduced in the Sixth Form. The courses are supported by two Centre Coordinators, as well as by a myriad of academic staff who offer their support and expertise as Supervisors.
Project Qualifications, at whatever level, offer girls the opportunity to produce an extended piece of writing on a subject of their choice, based on a prolonged period of research and founded on their critical evaluation of the scholarship and evidence available to them. In doing this, the girls receive a series of Taught Sessions – which cover everything from bibliographic techniques, analytical and evaluative skills, and essay writing and referencing – as well as benefitting from the one-to-one discussions with their Supervisors whose role it is to help guide them through the research process.
Three different levels are currently offered as follows:
|Foundation Project Qualification||Higher Project Qualification||Extended Project Qualification|
|Year 9||Year 9||Sixth Form|
|Half a GCSE||GCSE||AS level qualification|
|1000 word essay/report||2000 word essay/report||5000 word essay/report|
Sixteen members of the Upper Sixth received their grades for the EPQ earlier this term: over 80% secured either A or A* grading. The girls currently in the Lower Sixth have already begun the Taught Sessions and will soon be linking up with their Supervisors to start their work in earnest. There are currently around 75 girls in Year 9 working towards either the FPQ or HPQ. The Taught Sessions have taken a new remote format this term and the one-to-one Candidate and Supervisor meetings are happening via Teams video calls. We look forward to the Presentation Evening in early March - which, by the wonders of technology, will be held in breakout rooms - and to the girls submitting their completed projects later that month.
Subjects range from the mentality of a serial killer to the psychology of Disney marketing, incorporating the reintegration of wolves, the role of music therapy, and the morality of driverless cars. The presentations, held in the latter stages of the process are always fascinating, not only for the remarkable subject knowledge gained but also for the maturity, authority and conviction with which the candidates speak.
Project Qualifications are, of course, only part of the all-round enrichment programme on offer at Farnborough Hill but, as the numbers suggest, they do represent a popular supplement to academic studies. They offer a unique opportunity to experience the thrill of the research journey at a relatively early stage in one’s academic career, providing precisely the sorts of skills that become vital at GCSE, A level and, ultimately, university; it is no surprise that we see significant Value Added to the grades of those who have completed Projects in Year 9 and even reductions in UCAS offers on the basis of an EPQ completed in the Sixth Form. Most importantly, however, these Project Qualifications are an opportunity to take control of one’s learning, to pursue an interest in an area of one’s own choosing and to structure a programme of work to bring this to fruition. In short, it engenders a love of learning which is why we consider it to be such an important part of ‘educating the whole person’.