After months of research, reading, writing 5000 words, reflecting and revising – not forgetting the precise formatting of lengthy bibliographies – seventy-seven pupils presented their work for the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) in a stimulating evening with their assessors, teachers and peers.

Lower Sixth Formers at Oundle take an EPQ alongside studying for three A Levels. The qualification asks students to undertake a longer piece of research culminating in a dissertation style essay or the production of an artefact. It is regarded as excellent preparation for university.

The projects reflected the pupils’ personal interests and passions with a huge range of topics and methodology. Zoe (N) made an animated film trailer based on cultural folklore, while George (B) built a functioning part of a Central Processing Unit to demonstrate computer logic and Zara (K) created a modern fashion magazine based on the beauty standards of Ancient Egypt.

Some pupils explored highly technical problems such as pharmaceutical treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, and Car-T Cell therapy for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. Other pupils waded into highly contentious social issues and current events such as Critical Race Theory, environmental racism, gender inequality and racism in sport. Not surprisingly many pupils focused on environmental concerns including carbon capture and storage, sustainable architecture, conservation strategies, fast fashion, and greenwashing.

Last year’s ISI Inspection Report highlighted the pupils’ EPQ achievements: “The quality of work and attainment in the Extended Project Qualification is exceptional, and show strength of argument and ability to handle complex ideas.”