Higher (Level 2) Project qualification

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  • England
  • Wales
  • Northern Ireland

The Higher Project qualification requires students to study a topic area which extends or expands their learning in an appropriate area of study. The qualification helps students to:

  • undertake an autonomous piece of work
  • develop as inquisitive and independent students
  • be inspired and enthused by new areas or methods of study
  • explore the experiential learning process, and further opportunities to plan and review their learning
  • take responsibility for their own learning and develop transferable, core life and study skills
  • if appropriate, use ICT and appropriate technologies with confidence
Education context

The Higher Project qualification is a standalone qualification and can be taken by students as an addition to their GCSE or other Level 2 qualifications; some students may take it alongside Level 3 qualifications.

The qualification contributes to the 14 – 16 performance measures in England but since 2014 no longer contributes to the five A* –C headline measure.

Numbers taking the Higher Project have fallen progressively from 24,452 in 2012 to 5631 in 2015.

The Higher Project formed a mandatory part of the Level 2 Higher Diplomas which were introduced in 2008 and have now been withdrawn.

Awarding organisations
  • AQA
  • City & Guilds
  • OCR
  • WJEC
Qualification codes
601/3764/2 (City & Guilds)
500/2371/8 (Pearson)
500/4181/2 (WJEC)

The Higher Project is a single component linear qualification.

Students undertake their Higher Project in the context of a project topic they have selected, in agreement with the centre.

The outcome of the project can be a written report but it can also be a design, media production, performance, artefact or combination of these.

The Higher Project provides students with the opportunity to create an extended piece of work and to:

  • select an appropriate topic
  • identify a question or brief which specifies an intended project outcome
  • produce a plan for how they will deliver their intended outcome
  • conduct research into the project brief using appropriate techniques
  • develop the intended outcome using selected tools and techniques safely
  • demonstrate the capacity to see a project through to completion
  • share the outcome of the project, including a review of their own learning and performance with others, using appropriate communication methods
Subject areas

The subject content of the Higher Project is not prescribed as it focuses on developing skills.

The skills are summarised in the four learning outcomes.

Examples of acceptable titles for Higher Projects can be found on awarding bodies’ websites.


Higher Projects are Level 2 qualifications (equivalent to GCSE grades A*- C or GCSE grades 9-4; SQCF Level 5).


Higher Projects are Level 2 qualifications (equivalent to GCSE grades A* – C or GCSE grades 9 – 4; SQCF Level 5).

Higher projects are graded A* – C or unclassified.


The Higher Project is a single unit, internally assessed qualification.

Each project is assessed by the supervisor who has overseen the student throughout the project process.

They are standardised and moderated internally and quality assured by the awarding body by spot checking of both process and assessment.

Students need to produce a production log, verified by a supervisor, a written report, supplementary evidence and a presentation.

The assessment objectives are:

  1. manage
  2. use resources
  3. develop and realise
  4. review
Contribution of assessment components to overall grade

The weighting of assessment objectives varies between awarding bodies but the heaviest weighting is on assessment objective 3: develop and realise.

Resit arrangements

As an internally assessed qualification, students may complete the qualification at a time that suits the centre.

Guided/notional learning hours
Higher Project: 60 hours
Guided/notional learning hours notes

Completion of a Higher Project is expected to take 60 glh. This is half the size of a GCSE.

UCAS size bands

Not yet available.

UCAS grade bands

Not yet available.

Key issues for UK HE admissions

Applicants may refer to the project in personal statements and interviews.

Students may have completed the project as part of their GCSE programme or as an enhancement of their Level 3 programme.

Some centres use the Higher Project as part of a gifted and talented programme at GCSE level to push able students beyond the requirements of their mainstream subjects and deepen their knowledge in a particular field.

Students who have taken a Higher Project alongside a Level 3 programme will have done so as an alternative to the Extended Project.

The Higher Project is not widely available to students.

Timing of assessments/results for learners

As an internally assessed qualification, students may complete their Higher Project at any time.

Qualification date
Starting from 01 Sep 2009
Qualification dates notes

This is a current qualification

WJEC are withdrawing their qualification in 2016.

Reporting and certification information

Awarding organisations issue certificates at various times throughout the year.

Progression information

The qualification supports progression to higher and further education, training or employment by developing skills in key areas such as planning, research, project management and self-reflection.

Some students may use the Higher Project as a stepping stone to an Extended Project qualification.

Further information

Links to the awarding organisations websites and specifications: http://filestore.aqa.org.uk/subjects/AQA-W-7992-SP-15.PDF