Extended projects

 At a time when schools are continually feeling the pressure of league tables and funding constraints, it is difficult to continue to run the breadth of curriculum we would all like to offer.  It is pleasing to see that the draft new Ofsted framework recognises the importance of a broad curriculum being in place for students for as long as possible.  The importance of breadth is a belief that I have held firm to throughout my leadership, despite at times questioning my decision when other schools have begun options in year 9 in pursuit of league table success.  . 

 We have made a conscious decision in our sixth form to continue to offer breadth to our students through the Extended Project Qualification. This course equates to the equivalent of half an A Level and is widely recognised amongst universities as an important stepping stone into the academic requirements of an undergraduate student.  Students have to identify a research question, undertake their own research, write a 5,000 word essay and deliver a presentation about their studies. 

This week I was invited to hear four of our students deliver their extended project presentation.  Having known all four students since they joined our school in year 7, I was delighted and incredibly proud to see how seven years at our academy and their own personal hard work and determination has helped shape these students into academically confident and curious young adults.  With projects ranging across genetics, criminology, sociology and psychology, the presentations were fascinating to hear.  Students responded with confidence about the research and time-management skills they had developed, and were able to answer a wide range of questions from their audience.  I would like to thank Vita, Emily, Gemma and Lucy for a wonderful afternoon hearing about their hard work.  It has confirmed for me the importance of the Extended Project Qualification as part of our post-16 offer and I look forward to hearing more presentations in the future.

Mark Lewiseducation, ofsted