Are you involved in delivering the EPQ in your school? School librarians are increasingly being asked to get involved with this, with various levels of involvement. For some, it involves stocking their libraries with books especially for the project, for some, supporting lessons, and for some, like John Iona of Oasis Academy in Enfield, it involves leading the project. I asked John to write about his experiences for Heart. John says:
‘I was asked to be responsible for the management, planning, development and delivery of the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) course at level two in 2011-12, with a pilot group of ten year 11 pupils. For this course, pupils are able to choose a topic they are interested in and formulate a question around this topic. They then have to plan their project, carry out their research and then write up their findings in the form of an essay. The model is that of a university dissertation, and is based around pupils building upon and demonstrating their independent learning skills For me, the course involved teaching pupils the skills they will need to complete their research project, which involved planning and delivering lessons that covered the full research process. As I was managing the course, I had to ensure that what I delivered would cover the assessment objectives demanded by the course specification, and so lessons were integrated over the year to teach pupils what they needed at the relevant stage of their project work. This year, I now have 40 year 11 pupils on the course, and have EPQ Supervisors to help to mentor students on the course and mark projects. Having learned lessons from our pilot year, I have planned to deliver the teaching element through a pilot project at the beginning of the year. This will give me the chance to teach and model, and pupils learn and demonstrate, the skills pupils will use for their own projects. I will then give shorter sessions at relevant points when pupils are working on their personal projects, in order to refresh them on the skills they should be using and demonstrating in their work. This year will also use a much tighter time-schedule with firmer and numerous deadlines for pupils’ work, to ensure the best success-rate possible and more robust, targeted support to pupils.From a personal point-of-view, my role in delivering this qualification has been a challenging but rewarding one and has developed my own skills in terms of managing teaching and learning. More generally, the EPQ is a course which all Librarians should seek to be involved in, in some capacity, if it is delivered at their schools. Librarians have the expertise in the the skills it demands of students, and therefore will have much to offer in the teaching and supporting of students on this course.’
If you are interested in learning more about running the EPQ course, and getting training yourself, the School Library Association is running an online course with School Librarian Sarah Pavey. Have a look at the course here. And finally, if you are on Diigo you can join the EPQ group and share useful bookmarks here. Have a look at this fantastic guide to the EPQ created by School Librarian Lesley Watts from the King Edward VI school. This is on Issuu, and will not be visible on iPads due to rights reasons.