Enhancing Excellence & EPQ


of Oxbridge applicants achieved their place in 2023.
students achieved places on Medicine, Dentistry or Veterinary Science courses in 2023
An EPQ is worth 28 UCAS points
Consistently one of the top sixth forms in the country for EPQ achievement.
students have received offers from Oxbridge in 2023
students achieved a place at a Russell Group University

What is the Enhancing Excellence Programme?

Notre Dame's Enhancing Excellence Programme supports and encourages students of high academic potential to apply to Oxford, Cambridge and other world top 30 Universities and/or to Medicine, Dentistry or Veterinary Science degrees.

What happens in Enhancing Excellence?

Throughout lower sixth, these students attend subject area discussion and development groups, engaging in weekly activities to prepare them for the rigorous tests and interviews required by these universities. They become more independent learners, researching beyond their A-level curricula by reading, watching online lectures or documentaries, attending residentials and conferences, or engaging in work placements. Usually, a quarter of these students apply to Oxford or Cambridge, and similar numbers apply to medicine, veterinary science or dentistry. In 2021, our students attended a webinar series with undergraduates and doctors from the University of Leeds Medical School, exploring ethics, situational judgement, and other skills required for a career in medicine. They also attended a virtual Oxford conference, where an ex-student discussed the interview process and life at university, and admissions tutors from Worcester College provided advice on developing an application. Tutors from the University of Cambridge host two annual admissions and interviews conferences at Notre Dame, also attended by tutors from Oxford. Our students visit Oxford and Cambridge each year. We have a very successful Medev (Medicine, Dentistry, and Veterinary Medicine) programme under the Enhancing Excellence umbrella, including links with WAMS and Open Wide, Leeds University’s programmes aimed at widening access to Medicine and Dentistry respectively. 

How do you join?

You will apply and be interviewed at enrolment. Invitation to join the programme is dependent on your performance here and your GCSE results.

What is Cambridge HE+?

Notre Dame is the lead of the Cambridge University HE Plus Hub for Leeds with another provider. This initiative is designed to challenge academically the brightest young people in our inner cities, to raise aspirations and encourage applications to very selective universities. 

Notre Dame leads the Cambridge University HE + Hub for Leeds with another provider. Run in partnership with the University of Cambridge, the prestigious HE + Programme is designed to academically challenge the brightest young people in our inner cities, to raise aspirations, and encourage applications to very selective universities. There is only one HE+ Hub for Leeds, which means Notre Dame is perfectly placed to prepare students for applying to Cambridge, and to any of the UK’s Russell Group universities. You will: receive advice, guidance and support to help you make the best possible application; be prepared for interviews, including through mock interview practice; and attend seminars run by the University of Cambridge. As one of the University of Cambridge’s HE+ institutions, we aim to engage students in a sustained programme, which includes academic extension classes, subject masterclasses, information and guidance sessions, and a residential to Selwyn College, Cambridge.



The Extended Project Qualification provides a fantastic opportunity to deepen your knowledge of a subject, perhaps one that you want to study at university or didn’t have space to take at A-level. Equivalent to half an A-level, the EPQ can be based on your hobbies or extra-curricular interests, providing time away from your academic subjects. For this qualification, you will create a piece of work such as an investigation, field study, dissertation, performance, or artefact. You will be assessed on your ability to plan, manage, complete, and review your project. Achievement of the EPQ is highly regarded by universities and employers, with many students offered lower grade requirements for entry to a wide range of courses including some of the most competitive. If you are interested in undertaking an extended project you can speak to your tutor, though you will receive further information during your time at College. 

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