Hethersett Old Hall School (HOHS) blog – an independent day and boarding school near Norwich, Norfolk.

For girls and boys from Nursery to Sixth Form – discover the difference.


Boosting University Success

A headline from last week – ‘Mini dissertations help thousands of pupils boost their university chances’.

Newspapers last week said that universities were extolling the virtues of the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), where students have to write a mini dissertation or carry out detailed research to produce an artefact on a subject of their choosing. Sixth formers jostle to get into top universities and this qualification helps them to stand out from the others. Examiners also found that these essays are invaluable to students to prepare for university study as they allow them to debate complex issues, organise notes as well as helping them understand the intricacies of plagiarism. EPQs, worth half an A level, are increasingly popular with top university such as Bristol, Manchester, Southampton and Leeds all of which actually lower their A level grade requirements if students attain a good EPQ grade.

The papers stated that not all schools offer this qualification and, if they do, often only a handful of students undertake it as it requires a great deal of input from the staff and in large establishments there are not enough staff to manage the workload. Here at HOHS, all of our current Year 12s are taking EPQ and our Year 13s completed this qualification last year. In the past this qualification has helped our students to attain the university places of their choice.

Our Year 13 applied for university last term, way ahead of the January 15th deadline. They all have several offers of places already. Well done to our Year 13 girls and their Sixth Form tutors!

Leave a comment

We read about ‘The bluest eyes’…now hear the song!

This is a must-listen! Last week we reported how Tami (Year 13) researched self-perceptions of black women for her EPQ (Extended Project Qualification), culminating in the composition and performance of a song.  Now you can listen to the song on Soundcloud here. Beginning with an impassioned Spiritual-style plea, the song evolves into a haunting piece with a simple piano accompaniment that perfectly suits Tami’s beautiful and emotive vocals.





Leave a comment

The bluest eyes…

Tami (Year 13) has been researching self-perceptions of black women for her EPQ (Extended Project Qualification). Her research culminated in the composition of her own powerful song, reflecting how black women’s self esteem has long been affected by societal prejudices about skin colour and hair type.  Yesterday she presented her findings, and her song, to senior pupils and staff and afterwards took questions from the audience.

Tami, who is our Deputy Head Girl, said, “I chose to compose a song, The Bluest Eyes, because music is such a strong focus in my life. The inspiration came from a book of the same name by Toni Morrison, whose characters are so desperate to be considered beautiful in the white world that they hate their own skin colour and hair type.”

In the second picture below Tami is with Lilyella and Khloe who have also completed EPQ projects: look out for reports on their presentations coming soon.

  • Did you know…? The EPQ involves in-depth research into your own choice of topic and the creation of either a 5,000-word report or a ‘product’ and a shorter report. You then make a 15-minute presentation which is recorded for the external assessors.





Leave a comment

What have a prosthetic leg for a dog, a ski jacket and horror make-up got in common?

The answer is, they are among the topics independently researched over the past months by girls in our Year 13 group for their Extended Project Qualification ( a Level 3 qualification). Other projects included the effects of cyberbullying, ways to spice up your life in uni and more.

Each of the girls recently gave an individual presentation on her chosen topic – a great opportunity to showcase the hard work and research they had put in and answer questions from their audience  of staff and pupils.

EPQ pic