Every year, some schools offer the chance for year 11 students to undertake the Higher Project Qualification, which abbreviates to HPQ. This is a sublime opportunity where students can explore a topic of their choice; that’s right- a chance where you don’t have to follow the national curriculum for once! Students are then required to research into this topic and answer a question that they would have initially devised at the beginning of the journey, in the form of an essay, before presenting this to an audience comprised of supervisors, tutors, friends and family.

As challenging as it may sound, there is no need to feel supressed by the project. You will always be guided by your supervisor- a senior member of staff who will support you throughout the process, and often there are your fellow peers who have chosen a similar subject who you can count upon. There are obviously deadlines to meet, as with any other piece of homework or coursework, but unlike these, the HPQ provides you with a unique opportunity to manage your learning at home whilst enabling you to divert your attention away from the concepts taught in the classroom.

However, in my opinion, the best and most engaging element of the HPQ is at the end: the presentation. Having just completed my presentation last Friday, I have learnt a lot about myself, especially concerning my strengths and weaknesses with regards to presenting in front of an audience. However, I was also able to gain a better insight on the various topics presented and delivered by my fellow peers, who had equally strived to convey their intended message as professionally and as convincingly as possible. In this way, the presentation evening was very much a success in my opinion, as it allowed the audience to leave having learnt something new, often enabling them to also reflect on what they had heard, especially if the conveyed message had widespread implications on society as a whole.

So why should you pursue with the HPQ? To be concise, the HPQ provides you with an exciting opportunity to explore something that you are passionate about in greater depth and gain invaluable skills, particularly in writing essays and delivering speeches and presentations. However, above all, it is a fun and initiative project outside the national curriculum which you can certainly include in your CV and personal statement, as it is recognised as a GCSE subject to an extent by schools, colleges and universities alike!

By Aaron Sanjeevan, Saint Olave's Grammar School