Hills Road Sixth Form College student William Wisson-Burton, 17, has made a skeleton of an Allosaurus Fragilis for his Extended Project Qualification (EPQ). ‘Big Al’, as William fondly refers to it, is 27 feet long, 9 feet tall and weighs 420 kg. It took him over 500 hours to fabricate it from scrap metal and agricultural machinery parts which he sourced from around the farm where he lives and further afield.
William has always been interested in dinosaurs and is hoping to study a degree in Palaeontology with a view to making the study of dinosaurs his life’s work. He asked his EPQ teacher if he could make a life size, anatomically correct model of a dinosaur skeleton and the answer was “why not!” Amongst his A levels, William is studying A level Biology and Geology and also needed to draw heavily on his mathematical skills to calculate the construction of this life size creature.
At Hills Road, all first year students take the Extended Project Qualification in addition to their A level subjects. The EPQ offers them the chance to gain real independence, resilience and maturity as an advanced level learner, while pursuing any topic of their choosing. Students display their work at the College’s annual EP Marketplace - a sort of exhibition event where they are given the opportunity to talk to staff and students and gather feedback about their projects.
Big Al arrived on the back of a flat bed truck for EP Market place and drew admiring visitors all day to William’s fantastic work.
Contributions from this year’s students, from amongst almost 1200 projects, include: a model railway; a multilingual children’s book; a guide to the West End shows; the design and build of a sustainable pizza oven; the Big Book of Bees and the painstaking restoration of a Fender Rhodes electric piano, to name but a few.
Principal Jo Trump said “Our students never cease to amaze and inspire us with their creativity and ingenuity on their projects each year. We believe that EPQ is the most brilliant qualification because it is the only time in students’ educational experience that they can achieve recognition for a curriculum that they have designed and created themselves. EPQ provides them the space in which to be brilliant and every year they are. Our particular congratulations go to William for his amazing creation forged from his passionate interest in dinosaurs. What an incredible achievement!”