By Ed Mason, Teacher of English at Bedales School
6.1 students taking the ‘Extended Project Qualification’ recently presented their research and artifacts.
Esme Allman presented her dissertation on the influence of Obama on Chicago –a study encompassing history, politics and economics. Analysis of America’s current President was complemented by Harry McWhirter’s essay on visual representations of their first President, George Washington which he combined with the nation-building concept of ‘Manifest Destiny’.
Political movements and views were also considered by Juliette Perry and Chloe Green, albeit in two highly individual ways: Juliette constructed a book of articles on feminism, making complex ideas accessible to a sixth form readership whereas Chloe investigated the lives of gypsies in England and wrote a story to articulate their views.
The importance of the creative arts at Bedales was further underscored by Nat Steele’s design for a statement clock, Louis Giannamore’s album showcasing different musical genres, Emily Blackley’s photography of dance and Peter Price’s play inspired first by Ginsberg and then Whitman. Lucy Hewett and Harry Bonham Carter both produced films, albeit with very different styles and outcomes. Lucy’s instructional video on how to pass the British Horse Society Level 1 award was aimed at translating the complex prose of a syllabus into clear examples; Harry’s documentary on the Arctic followed a journey from the husky-sled pulled camera work to interviews at BBC HQ.
The sciences too were represented with Poppy Duncan and Thomas Higginson’s exploration of music therapy, and the link between eating disorders and elite ballet dancers. Their research included a mixture of qualitative and quantitative data, as well as contacting leading experts in their fields and work experience at a special needs school.
The Extended Project is a Level 3 qualification awarded by OCR and is equivalent to an AS-Level. The students are marked not on the the quality of their final product, dissertation or project, but on the process that they designed, undertook and evaluated. Each student was supported by a mentor from the teaching staff who met with them regularly; fortnightly sessions on project management, reflection and presentation skills constitute the taught element of the course.