During the inter-semester break and Easter vacation, the Library welcomed sixth form students from local schools to make the most of our fantastic resources and enhance the quality of their research for their Extended Project Qualifications. A total of 130 pupils representing five schools have visited us already this year and during the Summer vacation we expect many more.
The EPQ and why it matters
The Extended Project Qualification is an optional qualification for gaining UCAS points, equivalent to half an A-level. Its focus is on developing “independent research and project management” skills, which are highly valued by both employers and educators. Students formulate their own research topic and are challenged to “research, critically select, organise and use information”* from different sources. The Library is well-placed to provide access to both academic resources and to training that helps prepare many students not only for completing the project, but for independent study in Higher Education. Now that AS levels are no longer taken, universities are increasingly reliant on success at EPQ level to gauge future students’ academic skill levels and also, increasingly, use it as an indicator of their passion for, and knowledge of, their chosen degree subject.
What the library can offer
Library staff work closely with the Widening Participation Office and deliver information skills training to link schools as well as offering EPQ support – a service that we have provided to local schools for more than 12 years now. Under the guidance of the Library’s professionally qualified information specialists, these pupils can access a wide range of books and online resources to research their chosen subjects. Topics this year ranged from Formula One to Forensic Science, Spanish poetry to Speciesism, Antisemitism to AI technology – and there was something here for everyone. For our link schools we offer tours of the Library and the campus and give today’s pupils a taster of being tomorrow’s students.
What pupils and teachers say about their visit
“Thank you, I got a lot out of this.” [pupil]
“This was really helpful, thank you SO much.” [pupil]
“Thank you so much for arranging and helping with our visit to the Library this year. The students and their teachers were delighted with the online access they were offered and I believe many of them found useful information for their EPQ projects. It was also a valuable opportunity for them to experience a bit of real university life! Thank you very much for all your time and trouble.
We look forward to doing it all again next year!” [teacher]
*AQA (2015)b. Level 3 Extended Project Qualification [online]. Available from: http://filestore.aqa.org.uk/subjects/AQA-W-7993-SP-15.PDF [Accessed 7th March 2018].
Photos with permission from pupils at Clarendon Academy