National Conference 2016 - Three days in “Freo”

The Big Picture National Conference moved to Western Australia this year and a full house of educators from Australia, New Zealand and Mexico joined us to share their practice under the theme of “One design … many stories”.

A special highlight of the conference was the contribution of our indigenous colleagues. From a spine tingling welcome to country from Gail Barrow, with Didgeridoo and dance accompaniment from Yule Brook College students, to hearing about the inspiring work of leaders and teachers in the Ngaanyatjarra Lands, the Fitzroy Valley, Kalumburu and Brewarrina. Thanks to Kevin O’Keefe and Liz Ritchie in particular for leading the Town Hall. More than a few teachers in the audience were left tempted by the offer to work in these unique communities!

The staff who went got a lot from it and it’s exciting to hear their plans. (School Leader)

Town Hall sessions from John Hogan, Barry Down, Brooke Burns, Bronwyn White and Jackie Vaughan covered the ongoing growth of Big Picture in Australia, the educational research supporting our work, strategies for engagement and our breakthrough success in securing tertiary entry places for Big Picture students through the BPEA graduation portfolio.

To sit in a room filled with like-minded educators, hear their stories and celebrate their successes was inspiring (and a little bit daunting)!

A raft of special interest sessions, led by advisory teachers and students, kept attendees engaged: making, creating, drawing, doing, talking and sharing. Brooke Burns did a brilliant job of MC for the three days.

Participants loved catching up with students and advisory teachers in the different year groups, heard from Hilary and Eric about the 10 year Yule Brook journey with BPE, and explored ideas/issues of classroom design with Peter Lippman in a newly refurbished professional learning space at the school.

The range of speakers, the opportunities for collaboration, the dinner...everything was wonderful.

Thank you to all the organisers, presenters and attendees for making the event such an outstanding success. We leave Fremantle with new connections, inspiration and energy to keep making education better around Australia, New Zealand and the world.

I have an extended enthusiasm and passion for Big Picture Education. I have effectively networked with others. I now have a much better understanding of the Portfolio Entry into University/the Senior Institute thanks to Jackie and others) and her (their) awesome rubric, hard work and dedication to this innovative program.