The Waynflete Studies Programme is our unique version of the extended project, in which every Lower Sixth former has the opportunity to research a topic of their choice, many under the guidance of an external university tutor. 

The topics range widely from Cynic philosophy to the federalisation of Europe, and from cell autophagy to post-quantum cryptography. We are very grateful to our external tutors; it is only owing to their generous help that our students can pursue such a tremendous variety of subjects. We believe that the opportunity to research an academic subject with the guidance of an external tutor gives our students unparalleled insight into the nature of the subjects that they pursue and prepares them for university study.

Independent Learning

Central to the course, as also to William Waynflete’s original vision, is pursuing knowledge for its own sake. The course also aims to bridge the gap between school and university and supports our students’ university applications.

The Waynflete Programme teaches vital skills for producing a research-based, extended piece of work in response to an open-ended question. All project questions address genuine issues, and are based on areas studied by professionals in the real world.

The President’s prizes for the best projects are chosen by a panel of Oxford University academics. The President of Magdalen College Sir David Clary, one of the Patrons of the Waynflete Programme, kindly awards the prizes to the winners in a ceremony that takes place in Magdalen College.


The Process

The students can opt to work in one of the following faculties:

  • Biological Sciences
  • History and Politics
  • Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Languages and Classics
  • Mathematics and Computing
  • Physical Sciences

Alternatively, they can opt for the Enterprise or the Practical Science stream, in which they pursue more practical work under the direction of a business professional or in a lab guided by a university scientist.

Every student works with an MCS teacher to develop necessary research and writing skills. After an introductory programme of lectures and seminars they gradually draft their project in consultation with their University supervisor.

The year starts with an introductory programme of lectures that help the students to orientate in the diverse fields and methods of academia. We are fortunate to have the help of some of the leading academics within these fields, many of whom come from the MCS parental body. Recent lectures have been given by:

  • Professor Dapo Akande on The legality of using drones in military conflicts
  • Dr Maike Glitsch on Cerebellar development and cancer
  • Professor Karen O’Brien on Thinking skills
  • Professor Eugene Rogan on Revolutions of the Arab Spring
  • Professor Yiannis Ventikos on Computer simulation in modelling brain processes
  • Dr Lucy Wooding on Foxe’s Book of Martyrs


"It's given me the confidence to talk about my subject in depth at interviews, so much more than if I had just read a book or an article. It's something striking which makes you stand out"

Lower Sixth Pupil


In one of the school year’s favourite events, students present some of their best projects to an invited audience of parents, external tutors and friends. For many it is their first experience of a professional research presentation in front of a highly qualified audience. The students find it a useful preparation for their university interviews.

The most recent Waynflete Presentations Evening took place on 7 February 2020. Details of the projects to be presented can be found below.



“The student brought in some really complex ideas and theories that I am actually currently teaching at Masters level”

Psychology Tutor

“I was very impressed with the pupil… his knowledge of condensed matter physics is quite remarkable at this stage”

Physical Sciences tutor

How to make a start

If you are a student approaching Lower Sixth entry, the best way to choose a topic is to consider what academic interests you already have, perhaps relating to extracurricular clubs or activities that you do. Another option is to think of school subjects or individual topics that you have enjoyed studying recently and to ask your teachers about any books that you could read around them.

In the year leading up to the Waynflete project, we advise that you take every opportunity to deepen your academic enthusiasms, for example by attending relevant lectures, listening to podcasts or watching TV programmes related to your area of interest. When you go on holiday, take the opportunity to find out about the place that you visit: go to the local museum, read the guidebook, watch a film related to your destination.

When you join the Lower Sixth, you will receive plenty of guidance on how to choose between your different interests and how to refine it into a research topic.

"The most special thing is that it's your choice and you can really get creative with a topic that interests you the most"

Lower Sixth Pupil

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