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How to approach the ISEB’s iPQ for English topics
By Elly Lacey
09 Jul

The ISEB iPQ is a great opportunity for pupils in Years 7 and 8 to develop their independent learning skills. The project-based framework offers pupils a chance to explore topics and issues that really interest them, alongside their existing classwork and examinations. By engaging with a topic they feel passionate about, a wider skill set will open up to the pupils through research and reflection, which includes critical thinking, contextualising ideas and understanding themselves a little better. Not only is it fantastic preparation for senior school but also for the wider world.

Our new Common Entrance 13+ English for ISEB CE and KS3 textbook is a fantastic resource to use alongside preparation and development of iPQ projects. The textbook (as an iPQ project will do) takes the pupils on a journey through a variety of genres, time periods and perspectives. Making cross-curricular references and extra-curricular links, the textbook shows the interconnectivity of English as a subject, which will undoubtedly inspire project ideas.

As well as a project’s starting point, the textbook supports the skills needed to build the project itself. From practising clear explanations and definitions to opportunities to reflect on their own learning.

Research and context boxes in all the chapters encourage pupils to think critically of the texts they are focusing on, placing them and their writers in a certain time and place. They are encouraged to consider different points of view and be discriminatory with their selection of evidence, as well as referencing it correctly.

CE English Textbook Sample - Research

Example of Research box from Common Entrance 13+ English for ISEB CE and KS3

Another transferable skill from the textbook to the iPQ is the variety of writing structures that are presented and developed through the book. The language and structural tips which go alongside these will enable pupils to confidently piece together a full and robust iPQ project, which is well-organised and engaging to read.

Speaking and listening tasks, as well as drama activities in the textbook, will support group projects through structured discussions and develop presentation skills for the final stage of the iPQ project.

There are a variety of ideas but pupils should be selective and play to their strengths, exploring their own interests above all else. They will be able to adapt ideas and use different mediums to present them this is where their individual creativity comes in. Project ideas can be taken from the textbook chapter themes so if a pupil is particularly taken with a particular genre of writing or theme as they work from the textbook, they can refer to these examples as a first step.

ISEB iPQ projects are a chance for pupils to explore, engage and interact with ideas and issues that are important to them. Having agency over their learning in this way is exciting to say the least and hopefully Common Entrance 13+ English for ISEB CE and KS3 will enable pupils to create a project to be proud of.

Elly Lacey is Head of English at Newton Prep School in London. She has taught English to children from age 8 to 18 but her particular passion is teaching at Key Stage 3. In the classroom, she endeavours to build children’s confidence and love of English through creative activities and cross-curricular links all inspired by the texts on the curriculum. Learn more about Elly here

Read Elly's blog post on what's new for the CE 13+ English specification and how the new textbook aligns. Plus, download a free sample here

Tags: 13+, 13+ Common Entrance, CE, CE 13+, Common Entrance, Elly Lacey, English, Independent School Examination Board, iPQ, ISEB, Project Qualification

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