Academic and social benefits of collaboration

Thirty Year 12 boys joined 30 girls from Henrietta Barnett School to work on the Extended Project Qualification.

During an initial one-day symposium, the students were placed into groups of four, comprising two boys and two girls, according to whether their subject interest was science or humanities-based. Each student brought an academic article or text of interest for consideration by their group. The teams then had to agree a research question for collaborative work before presenting their findings to their peers and staff at the second stage of the event some weeks later.

“This event built successfully on previous collaborations between the two schools,” said Dr Sarah Westcott, Head of Pupil Progression at QE. “The aim was to get our boys and Henrietta Barnett students, who are normally used to the single-sex environment, working together to research, analyse and then present their ideas on a number of high-level academic topics. Events of this kind are key to ensuring that students develop the research skills and analysis techniques necessary throughout their A-level studies as well as preparing them for the mixed environment of higher education.”

Research questions at the QE/HBS collaboration event ranged from The hygiene hypothesis – are humans too clean? to an analysis of whether the methods China has used to enjoy worldwide economic success could be replicated in African countries.

“The presentations were of a particularly high standard, with students enthusiastically delivering their analysis on their chosen research topic,” added Dr Westcott, who oversaw Science topics. Tahmer Mahmoud, Head of History and Academic Enrichment at QE, oversaw pupils studying an arts or humanities topic for the EPQ.

  • The EPQ is a qualification equivalent to an AS Level which aims to help students pursue their interests by exploring topics in depth.