Big Picture Education Australia aims to stimulate vital changes in Australian education by generating and sustaining innovative, personalised schools that work in partnership with their greater communities.
We design break-through public schools, research and replicate new designs for education, train educators to serve as leaders in their schools and communities, and actively engage the public as participants and decision makers in the education of our young people.
Our philosophy is grounded in educating 'one student at a time.' We promote and create personalised education programs that are unique for each student.
We believe that true learning takes place when each student is an active participant in their education, when their course of study is personalised by teachers, parents and mentors who know them well, and when school-based learning is blended with outside experiences that heighten the student's interest. In a country obsessed by 'test-score accountability,' we promote 'one student at a time accountability.'
Our public education system often cannot meet the needs of young people. While some students leave the public education system for the private system in the hope that their needs will be better met, far too many leave the public system to attend alternative programs. Many, of course, successfully move into the world of work.
Shamefully, for a country as wealthy as ours, far too many young people leave school without pursuing further education or employment. The personal and social effects of this are great. Usually those who do not continue with education and/or employment come from the same families with the same general demographic and socio-economic backgrounds as they did 25 years ago. Doing more of the same has not made an impact or difference on these outcomes. Therefore a new approach is called for. As a community, we need to think differently about how to deal with this dilemma in education.
Big Picture Education Australia believes that innovative and diverse designs are needed within the public system to meet the needs of those that the current educational structure does not support. This is new thinking. No longer should the ‘one size fits all’ design of secondary schooling be the only option for those of us who support public education. We need diversity within the education system to meet our young people’s wide range of needs.
The Big Picture Education design aims to address these needs, focusing on individual learning and engaging students on a personal level. While we are not suggesting that we are the only design that can make this contribution to education in Australia, we do believe that this is a design that works, and has been proven and demonstrated in schools across the USA and the Netherlands.
We invite others to join us in new conversations and actions to improve the educational outcomes of many young people in Australia. New partnerships, coalitions and funding arrangements, and school designs will be explored.
The Big Picture’s rigorous and highly personalised approach to education combines academic work with real-world learning. It focuses on educating ‘one student at a time’ and inverts the traditional education design by placing the student, their passions and their interests, at the centre of the learning process.
From the Big Picture’s work in communities overseas, the integrated learning framework has been found to be highly effective in improving student learning. The success and proliferation of Big Picture schools is due to their ability to achieve exceptionally high student attendance rates (94% on average) and very low drop-out rates (2% on average). In the USA, Big Picture delivers on its promise to provide students with the skills and assistance needed to gain acceptance to tertiary institutions, with 99% of Big Picture graduates being accepted into college (the equivalent of a university or TAFE in Australia).