Independent Research

At Culford, students truly discover how to learn independently. Using study skills seminars and workshops you will be helped to manage your work effectively, participate in lively discussion, work within teams and reflect on successes and failures. You will learn skills that will help you not just at school, but also when you reach university and the work place. These skills include independent enquiry, creative thinking, reflective learning, team work, self-management, effective participation and tenacity.

Many Culford Sixth Formers are also encouraged to take an Extended Project Qualification or Open University degree modules.

The Extended Project Qualification

The EPQ has proved to be a popular course as it provides an opportunity to extend abilities beyond the confines of the A Level specification. The EPQ is a self-directed project where students take responsibility for the choice and design of their individual project, and are therefore free to choose subjects that they are passionate about. It can be an essay, a film, a composition, or something created in the Design & Technology workshop.

As well as gaining extra UCAS points (the EPQ is worth 50% of an A level), the EPQ is popular with universities as it illustrates the initiative, creativity and confident independence of the learner. Students are supported by a designated tutor, the school librarian and by the EPQ co-ordinator.

Culford students have chosen a great variety of projects over the last few years: How do birds fly? Can music help in the healing process? Can children be evil? How do animals survive in extreme environments?

The Open University

Talented Culford students may choose to take The Open University’s degree-style short courses, such as; Nuclear energy; living without oil; galaxies, stars and planets; human genetics; and health issues are just some of the topics on offer and demonstrate the wide range of opportunities that are available. These courses are designed to extend students’ knowledge, help with their university applications and create individuals who are confident, independent learners.

Independent Research Project

Independent study and research skills are an integral part of A level study and beyond, for example at degree level when at university. We therefore ensure that all our Sixth Form students develop and use successfully key independent study skills, for example information literacy, so that study away from the classroom is productive, effective and very importantly enjoyable.

All students in the Culford Sixth Form attend an Independent Research Conference at the beginning of the Lower Sixth year which is then followed up with weekly, targeted study skills sessions in small groups. All students are then required to submit an extended piece of work. This may take the form of an externally assessed EPQ (Extended Project Qualification) or an OU (Open University) Course.

Alternatively, students may decide to undertake the Culford Independent Research Project which can be on any topic of their choice. This project begins in the Summer Term of the Lower Sixth when students select a project and ask an appropriate teacher to be their Project Tutor. The research continues over the summer holidays and the final project is presented at the beginning of the Upper Sixth. Students normally select projects which extend their A level study in a particular subject or which are relevant to their chosen university courses. Independent research projects such as these are looked upon very favourably indeed by universities when reviewing UCAS applications and interviewing prospective candidates.