Updated: Oct 14, 2020

The annual Swans School EE Cafe took place either side of the June long weekend (this year via Google Meet).  The two-day event sets up Year 12 IB students to write their Extended Essay over the summer break. 

The Extended Essay is a 4000-word piece of researched, academic writing on a suitable topic about which the student is personally curious.  It lies at the core of the IB Diploma and is one of the most rewarding aspects, as it relies upon the students’ independent research skills to form a compelling essay. It also acquaints students with skills expected at university.

At the EE Cafe, students had a full day of sessions to help them plan and construct their essay, followed by a second day on which they presented the findings of the research they have been carrying out over the past few months, to an audience of peers and supervisors. Divided into groups according to the subject in which they are writing their essay, and joined by all the supervisors of essays within that group, students gave impressive ten-minute presentations outlining their research and the direction of their argument.  

Everyone else in the group recorded their feedback on a spreadsheet as well as giving it verbally.  This is a collaborative process where teachers and peers help to troubleshoot and guide the student giving their presentation. In addition, thinking through their peers’ process informs and enriches students’ ability to understand their own.

It is always so interesting to hear what our Year 12s  have been curious enough about to research and what they have managed to find out.  

Their next task?  Shaping these findings into a 4000-word piece of high-scoring academic writing.  They have all the tools at their disposal (they have worksheets, plans and plenty of feedback) - now all they need is time and good old fashioned hard work!  They have set themselves small manageable targets, and mini deadlines - breaking it down like this should make this big task more achievable and allow for many little victories along the road.

It was fascinating to hear about their research, and the process of both giving and receiving feedback was enlightening and enjoyable for all concerned. We hope that they now feel fully prepared for the challenge ahead, and we are excited to read their essays in September. 

Good luck, Year 12 - you got this!


For more information on Swans Sixth Form or the International Baccalaureate Diploma, please email

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