Year 10 students are offered the opportunity to participate in the Priestlands Baccalaureate Certificate that aims to play a part in developing and preparing them for life beyond school as well as challenging our students in their learning.
The Priestlands Baccalaureate Certificate is an extra-curricular award worked towards throughout Year 10. As well as giving students an opportunity to go above and beyond in their learning, it also allows students to be creative and study an area of their choosing in more detail.
The certificate is made up of three parts:
- Extended project
- Community service
- Academic achievement
The purpose of the project is to provide an opportunity for students to investigate and research a topic they feel passionate about. This may be something that has sparked their interest in a subject they might consider studying at university, a hobby, or societal issue that they feel strongly about. With fierce competition for places at higher status universities, students must be able to demonstrate a passion for their subject and show that they can go beyond the studying they do in class.
Students will be guided through the process of academic research, refining their hypothesis, and being taught how to present to an audience - working towards presenting their findings and arguments to an audience. Examples of previous topics include:
- Should euthanasia be legal in the UK?
- Is feminism still relevant in today’s society?
- How does lack of funding impact grass-roots sport?
- Should nuclear weapons be banned internationally?
- How does aviation impact the modern world?
- Do the positive effects of gaming outweigh the negatives?
- What is the effect of climate change on small island states?
With the support of a mentor, students will choose a topic to research. It is not intended to be a piece of coursework or an arduous task for them to do. Rather, it should be something they enjoy and more like a hobby than a school project.
In March of Year 10, students will deliver a presentation to parents, teachers, governors and peers showcasing the results of their endeavours. Our experience is that the standard of these presentations is very high and that students understand the importance of developing their interest independently of school. This presentation can be used as the Spoken Language element of the GCSE English Language course.
Giving back to the community in some way encourages students to do things and go to places they wouldn’t normally have considered. In meeting different people they learn about themselves and about the lives of other people, building their understanding of our complex society.
Students give up at least 20 hours of their time over a minimum of 3 months. Community service conducted as part of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme can also be used for this section of the Priestlands Baccalaureate.
Students are encouraged to achieve the best GCSE grades they can. The students participating in the Priestlands Baccalaureate programme should aspire to put their all into their GCSE studies and aim to achieve academic excellence alongside their working towards the Priestlands Baccalureate certificate.
As well as being highly praised by parents and members of the community who observe the presentations, students who have participated in the Priestlands Baccalaureate have spoken very positively of their experiences:
‘It’s a good way to make you feel like you have a role in the school.’
‘My confidence has improved and I learned more about presenting well.’
‘I really enjoyed the whole process of the extended project.’
‘It took a lot of time, but I really enjoyed it; it was like a hobby.’
‘It pushed me out of my comfort zone.’
Priestlands Baccalaureate prompt ideas for extended projects
When choosing a subject area for your extended project pick the subject you are passionate about; the subject you love. When selecting a topic, pick something that will really interest you. This is not another piece of coursework, but rather reading, investigating, researching something that genuinely excites you.
The range of possibilities is almost endless and the inspiration should come from within you. For an idea of the breadth of possibilities have a look at some of the ideas in the file list below.