THE hard work of students at York College was celebrated at a special awards event.

Students who completed an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) alongside their A-levels, Apprenticeship or other courses were presented with an EPQ certificate in recognition of their research.

The EPQ allows students to pursue an area of special interest which can be an artefact, a dissertation, an investigation or a performance. It requires students to demonstrate self-motivation, be well organised and have a passion for their chosen subject.

The EPQ involves students in learning advanced research skills including Harvard referencing, project management and other valuable transferrable skills. The qualification supports progression to Higher Education and is highly regarded by universities and employers alike, and is worth half the UCAS points of an A-level.

Peter Biller, professor of Medieval history at University of York and fellow of the British Academy presented the students with their Certificates of Completion. He said: “Most years I get to know individual York College students by way of practice interviews for Oxbridge and other universities. I also have the pleasure of reading some wonderful EPQ projects which are most impressive. The EPQ qualification is fantastic preparation for university studies as this kind of research is often central to university courses. I congratulate all those who have undertaken EPQs this year and I have no doubt this learning experience will be incredibly valuable to students as they progress onto the next stage of their studies.”

At the event, two A-level students gave presentations on their EPQ projects. Harriet Podmore(previously of Malton School), who studies A-levels in biology, chemistry and maths, presented her EPQ research on ‘Should we use embryonic genetic engineering?’. Harriet hopes to study medicine at Anglia Ruskin University and says: “My EPQ was a great opportunity for me to manage my time and set personal goals. I was also pleased to learn Harvard Referencing, which will be so useful when I start my undergraduate studies. At my university interviews I spoke about my EPQ and it very positively received. I would like to thank my tutors for all their support throughout this whole process.”

Katie Cocker (formerly of Queen Margaret’s School) studies A Levels in history, politics and law and has on offer to study law at Durham University. Katie presented her EPQ on ‘Was xenophobia really the main cause of Brexit? Katie said: “ I enjoyed researching my very own topic and I appreciated having the opportunity to look at other people’s perspectives on Brexit, it really broadened my outlook. I feel I have definitely developed my research skills and I feel more prepared for university level studies next year."

Curriculum performance manager Hayley McQueen said: “The EPQ is a fantastic opportunity for students to study a subject in real depth, on a topic that is entirely of their choosing. This year there has been some fascinating projects which students have clearly enjoyed researching and writing about. Importantly, the EPQ enables students to demonstrate their self-motivation and organisational skills whilst completing the work alongside their main study programmes. The qualification is great preparation for independent learning as our students progress to Higher Education."