LD@3 Preparing sixth-form students for the transition to learning in Higher Education: The value of the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)


Event Date: 16/04/2024
Event Time: 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm

Presenter: Emma Thompson, Head of Enhancement, University of Southampton

This webinar is an opportunity to further address some of the themes explored within a similar presentation given to the ALDinHE conference in June 2023 and the subsequent publication as part of the conference proceedings.

The Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) is a level 3 qualification taken alongside A-level studies. Worth half of an A level, students complete an independent research project, developing research and project management skills that act as the ideal preparation for academic level study. The webinar will highlight the University of Southampton’s Learn with US Transition Programme, a group of learning developers, delivering academic and research skills teaching in schools and colleges that facilitates smooth transition to Higher Education. The webinar will draw upon literature underpinning the project’s rationale, including observations from our own data suggesting the EPQ is beneficial for students’ degree outcomes. We have especially seen positive indicators of the relationship between the EPQ and smaller awarding gaps for key, underrepresented student groups.

The webinar will also address practical, strategic and operational factors that were of interest in the presentation and follow up article. It will consider our funding model and how the work features in our recent Access and Participation Plan (APP) submission. This will also include our approach to evaluation, across the project lifecycle. With our regulator, the OfS, calling for a more active whole provider approach to addressing access, success and progression for students from underrepresented backgrounds, it is incumbent upon all facets of the academy, including learning development, to contemplate how we can contribute. With the majority of universities looking to submit their APPs in the summer of 2024, as part of a second wave of institutions, I hope this webinar might provide timely and thought provoking discussion.


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