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Last week Year 12 returned from their AS study leave and were immediately involved in a two-day series of opportunities to think, discuss and explore ideas away from the constraints of the curriculum. One group of students spent the day engaged in EPQ activities and attended sessions on research, report-writing, presentation, using resources, referencing and evaluating their projects. Trent also welcomed a group of EPQ students from local academy George Spencer who joined in with the sessions, as well as sharing ideas and experiences with our own students.
Organiser Karen Sunderland commented; ‘As those of us involved in the assessment and delivery of the EPQ know, the exam board are setting an increasingly higher standard regarding the stringent application of the assessment objectives. At the same time, top universities are prepared to make alternative offers for the high grades predicted in the EPQ, and value highly the independent learning skills achieved by students completing the extended project. First year under-graduates who completed the EPQ state that it acted as a solid introduction to the independent learning skills that are required at university. I was very impressed with the vigour and energy that the students brought to the EPQ workshops. They were enthusiastic and engaged from the outset, and with renewed impetus now to go forward positively with their projects.’
Also taking place was the Sixth Form Debating Day. Students were introduced to the Mace Debate style of debating , learning the procedures and rules as well as winning tips and tactics. The day ended with a series of competitive debates with students pitting their wits against each other on the motions they had earlier voted for. All in all it was both an educational and enjoyable day, uniting intellectual thought with high-level competition – always a winning combination!
For the second day we welcomed three Philosophers from the Philosophy Workshop, who work in schools with the aim of encouraging students to think critically, creatively, cohesively and autonomously. Research has shown that students able to think philosophically – to ’think outside the box’ – thrive in the world of Higher Education, where independent thinking is absolutely crucial. One student commented; ‘I really enjoyed the interactive nature of the workshops. They gave me a different perspective on Philosophy and I found them very beneficial’. At the end of the sessions Head of Sixth Form Lucy Matthews reflected; ‘I believe very strongly that in today’s highly competitive world of university and job applications, students need to be equipped with transferable intellectual skills which set them apart from others. The experiences that they have had here are very much about enhancing those skills – and in doing so, providing a thorough preparation for life.’