The University of Newcastle, Australia

ABC Lateline: Unique program gives students a new path to university

Friday, 31 March 2017

Anyone from UON watching ABC's Lateline of Thursday 30 March would have seen the familiar face of Professor John Fischetti,  Head of School of Education as part of a piece on Big Picture Education Australia, featuring students from their Cooks Hill Campus.

Big Picture Australia Logo

The Big Picture program aims to recapture those students who would otherwise drop out, by focusing personalised learning on their key interests. It is a not-for-profit network of educators implementing a distinctive design for schools in a range of different community settings.

In 2016 the Cooks Hill Campus graduated three students who, as part of a pilot program, have been accepted into undergraduate degrees at UON without an ATAR.

“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,” Professor John Fischetti said.

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.

The three students were also interviewed by panels from the respective faculties who made recommendations to admissions based on their expertise. The admissions process was led by Jodie Davis, Associate Director, UniAccess in Student Central.

"The Big Picture model is innovative and exciting for the teaching profession and by being part of the pilot, UON is really well placed to be at the cutting-edge of education transformation," John said.

"UON has a long history of providing access to tertiary education through non-traditional pathways. Without overstating it, I see potential for this to be game-changing. That is exciting for us as an institution but more importantly, it is a potential lifeline for secondary school students who don't see themselves 'making it' in the mainstream," John said.

Catch the full story and interview with Professor John Fischetti on the ABC website.

Find out more about the three students at Big Picture.

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