The Higher Project Qualification (HPQ) presents a unique opportunity for students in Year 9 to manage their own learning by embarking on a largely self-directed project of their choosing. Aimed at those on the Challenge & Extension programme, it helps to further develop a range of personal, learning and thinking skills that are directly relevant to our student’s future studies.
We follow the AQA specification, where students complete the HPQ as a stand-alone qualification, equivalent to half a GCSE. Students develop a range of study skills in choosing a topic, planning, researching and developing their proposed project. The final project outcome can take several forms – whilst most students opt to produce a research based written report of 2,000 words, others choose to produce an artefact (e.g. a piece of art) or a performance (e.g. a charity event), accompanied by a written report of 500 words. Students are also required to deliver a presentation about their project to a small audience and to complete a Production Log that documents their decision-making skills at each stage.
Here at St Gabriel’s, we recognise that the HPQ places many different demands on a student’s workload, and provide a supportive environment for those who pursue the qualification. Each student is assigned an experienced HPQ supervisor who helps guide them through each and every stage of the process. Students also receive group sessions that form part of the Taught Skills Programme, where they develop their research skills in a classroom setting.
The focus of the HPQ is predominately on the journey that students take, rather than the final outcome of their project. We are immensely proud of the achievements of all of our HPQ students, whose past project proposals have focused on topics as diverse as code-breaking at Bletchley Park, Venetian mask making, child psychology, the characteristics of the racehorse and the relevance of the church organ in modern society.