The Big Picture Education ‘Graduation Portfolio’ – Engaging pathways for all young Australians

Tuesday, February 28 marks the first day of university for five graduates from Big Picture Education (BPE) who have been accepted into their chosen university courses by way of BPE Graduation Portfolios; an academically rigorous, parallel pathway for tertiary admission.

Big Picture Education (BPE) works with Australian schools to deliver an innovative learning design and school structure that personalises learning for each student.

Grattan Institute research shows that as many as 40 per cent of school students are unproductive in a given year. BPE addresses engagement by focusing its design on students’ individual interests and needs. The BPE design is shown to improve the quality and quantity of a student’s work, attendance, literacy, numeracy and school completion rates.

  • In the Hunter region of NSW, Sophie Nenadovic, David Parsons and Hamish Thomson will start at the University of Newcastle, studying Physiotherapy, Business/Law and Biomedicine respectively.
  • In the ACT, Jasmine Dinning will start Asian Studies at the Australian National University.
  • In Western Australia, Emma Salmeri will begin an Education degree at Murdoch University.

As part of their BPE Graduation Portfolio work, students take on multiple in-depth internships, with local organisations and businesses, through Years 9 to 12. They hone their interests through real world experience with expert mentors in the community.

Viv White, Co-Founder and Managing Director of BPE says: “Not only do 65% of internships lead to casual, part-time or full-time employment, experience with professionals allows BPE students to make better tertiary choices. They find out if they are suited to a profession before they commence a degree and are less likely to drop out.”

Participating universities in the BPE Graduation Portfolio pilot program include, the Australian National University, Western Sydney University, University of Canberra, Flinders University, Murdoch University, University of Newcastle and the University of New England. Negotiations are underway with a further eight universities.

University of Newcastle Dean of Education John Fischetti says the Graduation Portfolio closely mirrors tertiary research projects:

“These students have completed a portfolio where they've had to really find their passion, build a repertoire of information about their skills and present it. In university terms, that’s a high level research project.”

David Parsons is the youngest of seven siblings, a competitive athlete, and, unlike the majority of students his age, is heading straight from completing Year 11 to first year Biomedical Science at Newcastle University.

When David initially started his BPE project work he thought he wanted to be a butcher.

After sustaining a serious back injury however, he discovered an interest in neurology.

“When I was accepted into Biomedical Science at Newcastle University I was told some of the work in my portfolio equated to third year subject matter. I eventually want to transfer to medicine and in 12 years I can see myself as a neurosurgeon.” David has some advice to others wanting to pursue the Big Picture Graduation Portfolio, “Whether you want to be a brick layer or a neurosurgeon, Big Picture requires commitment and hard work.”

The Big Picture Graduation Portfolio