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The ISEB Project Qualification (iPQ) provides a framework for teaching and assessing the development of independent, pupil-led project-learning skills, taking the form of a 15-20 hour project. It can be used as a stand-alone addition to an existing curriculum, or as an alternative to one or more curriculum subjects. The iPQ is usually completed in Years 7 or 8, but schools may start preparing pupils for the iPQ through smaller scale project work in Years 5 or 6.

If your school is interested in introducing the ISEB Project Qualification in the 2023-24 academic year, please register your interest to explore your next steps.

Schools can now register pupils for the 2023-24 iPQ through the iPQ Registration Area.

Why the iPQ?

The iPQ allows pupils, usually in Years 7 or 8, to identify a question, research the answer, develop their views in light of research, present their findings, and reflect on the learning process. The emphasis is on the process rather than the output, providing the pupil with real insights into their own ways of thinking and working. 

Pupils who complete the iPQ will have been given the opportunity to develop a wide range of skills that will help prepare them for the transition to senior schools. Similar in format to the Extended Project Qualification commonly taken in sixth forms and valued as part of university entrance procedures, the ISEB Project Qualification prepares pupils for the style of learning they will be working to throughout their time at senior school, and gives them a project to show prospective schools during their application processes.

“To say that we have loved being involved is an understatement. If schools haven’t explored the iPQ, they really should.” Cottesmore School

Levels and badges


iPQ2 (Level 2)

For Years 5 and 6, with a focus on devising and delivering a group project, in collaboration with others.


iPQ3 (Level 3)

For Years 7 and 8, with a focus on independent enquiry and exploration.


iPQ4 (Level 4)

For Years 8 and 9, with a focus on leadership, problem-solving, and real-world projects.

“I absolutely recommend the iPQ to all schools … (the) iPQ is perfect for Year 8 pupils, especially academic scholars who show a natural curiosity and interest in learning”.

Nick French

Director of Scholarship, Reporting and Assessment, and Head of Geography at Shrewsbury House School

“To say that we have loved being involved is an understatement. Watching the children being interviewed was yet another moment of confirmation in my mind that the future of education lies in such meaningful, empowering and project-based learning... If schools haven’t explored the iPQ, they really should.”

Ross Borthwick

iPQ Lead and Head of Sustainability and History at Cottesmore School.

“In the modern world, it is becoming increasingly important to promote independent thinking and creative problem solving, which is why the iPQ is the best preparation pupils can have”.

Mrs Elizabeth Locke

iPQ Lead and Librarian at Hall Grove School

“One of the things I really like about the iPQ is that children who don’t enjoy writing exam papers but are great musicians or are interested in arts can use their talents in a different way – linking up the intellectual rigour and research with their particular interest and talent... The iPQ undoubtedly gave our Year 8 pupils an idea of what it is like to work with greater independence and to direct their own learning.”

Stephanie Donaldson

iPQ Lead and Deputy Head Academic at Kenton College, Kenya.

“The iPQ allowed our pupils to develop a range of skills, such as independent thinking, researching and referencing, and time management that will undoubtedly serve them well as they move on to their senior schools and face a range of new challenges. The opportunity to explore different ways of presenting allowed pupils of all abilities to access the work in ways that the more traditional type of project would not have allowed.”

James Moss-Gibbons

iPQ Lead at Kenton College, Kenya from 2021-22.


To join ISEB, and other forward-thinking schools, adopting project-based learning, register your interest for the 2023-24 iPQ session.

Schools can now register pupils for the 2023-24 iPQ through the iPQ Registration Area.

Full iPQ documentation is provided to schools once they have registered pupils. The iPQ synopsis and a range of other supporting documents are provided below.


Discover the ISEB Project Qualification (iPQ) and explore how enquiry-led, skills-based learning can transform pupil motivation, engagement, and achievement.

Focusing on pupils’ strengths, the iPQ is about the process, not the outcome, enabling individuals to select and investigate topics and projects based on personal interest increasing involvement and advocation.

The iPQ is an excellent complement to traditional exams, developing additional skills that add to a child’s portfolio of recognised achievements.


iPQ Case Study; Kenton College Preparatory School

PDF 1020.46 KB

iPQ Case Study; Hall Grove School

PDF 1.27 MB

iPQ Case Study; Banda School

PDF 864.49 KB

iPQ Case Study; Cottesmore School

PDF 1009.57 KB

iPQ Brochure

PDF 3.05 MB

iPQ overview presentation

PDF 5.76 MB

iPQ synopsis

PDF 798.96 KB

iPQ guide for teachers

PDF 284.34 KB



ISEB keeps fees as low as possible but must set them at a level which covers the training and support costs of this qualification.

ISEB Project Qualification fee (per candidate): £40

Moderation and results

Each pupil’s progress through the ISEB Project Qualification is assessed by the teacher and moderated by an ISEB-accredited moderator. Final grades will be awarded as Pass, Merit or Distinction.


We offer a range of Continuing Professional Development opportunities for teachers working with the iPQ. Visit our Teachers Hub for more information.

To request bespoke support and guidance for your school and teachers, please contact the Qualifications and Delivery team via the iPQ Customer Support Portal.

Feedback to ISEB

Schools are invited to give feedback on the examination papers by completing ISEB’s online surveys, which are sent out after the spring examination session. It is hoped that as many schools as possible will complete the surveys for each subject. ISEB welcomes feedback from schools at any time of the year; please contact us via the iPQ Support Portal. 

ISEB Project Qualification (iPQ) Support Portal

Knowledge Base:
Submit an enquiry

A one-day conference for schools on the future of assessment


Join ISEB to have your say on the future of assessment at our 120th anniversary conference. Featuring fantastic headline speakers and a range of breakout sessions, this exciting conference will explore areas including AI and new educational technologies, digital assessment, 21st century skills-based qualifications, and curricula reform.

The conference will bring together colleagues from both prep and senior schools and the wider education technology sector and will be an invaluable opportunity to find out more and have your say on the future of assessment design and delivery.

Explore the full conference programme and book your tickets now, visit:

A groundbreaking creative writing competition for schools

Enter your pupils aged 7-16 into ISEB’s exciting creative writing competition for the chance to win amazing tech and literary prizes!

The Time to Write competition is open to all schools, with four categories for different age groups, and prizes for both the winning writers and their schools.

The Time to Write competition will be judged in two rounds. Entries will be shortlisted by a group of judges using RM Compare, Comparative Judgement technology – and you and your pupils can take part!

The top ten entries in each category will be read and reviewed by a panel of esteemed judges in the traditional way.

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Your opportunity to get involved and celebrate with ISEB

Did you sit Common Entrance examinations during your time at school? Or perhaps you have photos from your time at independent school ahead of sitting your examinations or in the classroom?

If you are happy to share your story, photos or memories to help us celebrate our anniversary, please get in touch with the team.



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