Extension Programme

Thinking Outside the Box

The programme is designed for those in the Sixth Form who wish to extend their learning experience, their lateral thinking and their intellectual flexibility.

There is an open invitation to all to take part and the programme includes the following opportunities:-

  • Meetings to give presentations of a topic of interest to one’s peers
  • Subject lectures at other Schools and Universities such as Birmingham, Aston and Warwick
  • Debating
  • Interview practice
  • Work experience opportunities such as the Nuffield Research Placements
  • The Extended Project Qualification in the Upper Sixth
  • A meeting with the Oxford liaison officer


Extended Project Qualification

The Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) offers Sixth Formers the opportunity to undertake independent research into an area of interest, typically around a subject that they might be considering for university. Each topic must be independent of their chosen A Level subject syllabuses, in order to prevent any overlap as this is prohibited by AQA, but students are not prevented from going beyond their syllabus content.

At Saint Martin’s, the qualification is typically aimed at Year 12, with entries submitted in the Summer Term of that year. Students are supported by a member of staff who will help guide them through the process, but the emphasis is placed upon the girls to consider and decide upon their own topic choices, lead their own investigations/research, and produce an essay/artefact themselves. This provides them with the opportunity to learn new, or build upon existing skills such as time management, research, essay writing and referencing. This is therefore considered to be a good stepping stone towards preparing our girls for university. It is perhaps no surprise that the EPQ is increasing in popularity amongst Sixth Formers in general, with over 40,000 students taking the qualification nationally in 2017.

The benefit of Year 12 entry into the EPQ is two-fold. Firstly, it removes some of the stress of increased deadlines upon students at the end of linear A Levels, avoiding students having to manage very demanding A Level subjects alongside an EPQ project. Secondly, it gives students a tangible declaration on their UCAS statement to go alongside their A Level subject grade predictions.

EPQs carry half the number of UCAS points as an A Level, with some leading universities making alternative offers to those pupils with the qualification. UCAS points are awarded as follows:

Grade UCAS points
A* 28
A 24
B 20
C 16
D 12
E 8


Previous topics have included:

  • Farming subsidies: How will the agricultural sector adapt to a post-subsidy Britain?
  • Should Capital Punishment be reintroduced in the UK?
  • How do F1 cars increase their speed as each season progresses from 2007-2017?
  • Building the perfect concert hall – is it all about acoustics?
  • The daily pressures of the modern paramedic – is it worth the pressure?
  • How will mankind survive the journey to Mars?

Artefacts can vary from a piece of artwork to project managing an event, such as a fashion event.

Each project culminates with all pupils giving a presentation to a range guests, including parents, staff and other students at our EPQ Presentation Evening. They give detailed analysis and evaluation on their topic of choice and also explain the challenges that they have faced, with questioning from the floor. Given the importance of public speaking in many career paths, we feel that the confidence and skills that the girls’ learn from presenting is an important part of the process for their time beyond Saint Martin’s.