The past three evenings have seen JFS’s ‘Conference Centre’ take on a new form, as it became a lecture theatre. However, this lecture theatre lacked a significant component, professors. Instead, students took it upon themselves to educate an audience with knowledge gained through their own research. The insightful and impassioned nature of the presentations delivered by these students would be enough to cause concern to any academic about their own job security.
The Extended Project Qualification provides an opportunity for sixth form students to push themselves beyond the curriculum and write their own five-thousand word dissertation on a topic of their choice, with the help of a supervising teacher. These topics range from ‘The Existence of Dark Matter’ to ‘The Cultural Significance of Corsets’. One of the final stages of the project involves the participating students presenting their findings to an audience of friends, family and teachers. Over the past three nights, these twenty-two students delivered their presentations. Presentations lasted for roughly ten minutes with time at the end for questions from the floor. The informed responses of many of the students to very challenging questions posed by the audience signified the amount of effort and work that has gone into their projects, as did the high calibre presentations. The evenings were both informative and entertaining, it was clear that the students were genuinely excited by the topics they had researched. They were also admirably supportive of their peers, whose presentations often dealt with completely different subject matters, stemming from a different set of interests. Never before have I come out of a room simultaneously contemplating ‘The NHS’s detrimental bureaucracy’, and ‘the presence of Socialism in the biblical canon’.
The projects began in February last year and are due to be submitted for grading within the month, with the presentation done, log book completed and dissertation perfected. In the words of Rebecca, (an EPQ student) “it has been a tough but highly rewarding process, made possible from my own perseverance, and the guidance I received from my supervisor”. The presentation evenings were a treat for the audience; and an advert for our extraordinary students and dedicated teachers. We congratulate the EPQ students for investing so much time and brain power, and we thank them for sharing their knowledge with us over the course of the evenings.
Noah Lachs 13WD