This co-authored case study tells the story of a partnership project that aims to support students aged 16–18 to develop independent research skills. The University of Bristol, in collaboration with St Mary Redcliffe and Temple School, have developed the Extended Project Qualification Support Programme. During the support programme, students are offered supported visits to the university's libraries, and mentoring from university researchers to aid them in completing the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ). Between 2013 and 2016, the programme supported over 650 students in 23 schools in the Bristol area. Outcomes of the EPQ Support Programme include that students reported gaining skills in research, independent learning and critical enquiry, as well as familiarity with the university environment. The case study also explores longer-term impacts in preparing students for university and changing their attitudes to research, including the perspective from university researchers. Finally, the paper reflects on the partnership work involved throughout the project.