2020 – a year of learning and growth

Headmaster Ross Featherston gives an insight into the learnings of 2020

How would you sum up 2020 and the start of this year?

The past 12 months have certainly presented challenges to all Victorians but it has been a year of learning and growth for BGS staff and students.  Since March last year, we have had four iterations of Distance Learning and we have refined the program each time, based on feedback from staff, students and parents.

Some key learnings have been:

  • flexible delivery of the curriculum is essential for both student engagement and to maximise learning
  • through formative assessment, we know students are still learning
  • students require structure to their day, to establish a routine
  • a strong student/teacher relationship is vital
  • the wellbeing of both students and staff has been a priority
  • our collaborative Year 12 learning program translates well online.

What was the BGS approach?

We needed to be creative in our thinking, to ensure we had the right balance between synchronous and asynchronous lessons so our students remain motivated and actively learning. We reassured our parents that we didn’t expect them to be their son’s teacher. Communication was vital and we trusted the process.

Our Effective Learner model, which is well known to students and parents, successfully translated online. For Year 12 students, we have highlighted the positives – studying at their own pace, revising their work by viewing teacher videos, and increased access to online resources. Our collaborative approach to study in Year 12, with the Syndicate program, works well online.

How did you engage with students and the community?

 We developed extensive online co-curricular student programs, including virtual Outdoor Education campouts for boys and parents. I engaged with our younger students weekly by reading them a story, taking part in physical challenges or cooking lessons with my family. I attended sessions with our Secondary students and meet with them one on one via Zoom, if they required extra support or even just a check in.

Parent and community communications were also reimagined. I recorded a weekly Headmaster update On the Gate which often features advice for parents from our specialist staff and we supported parents through instructional webinars, videos on learning practices, online Q&A sessions and virtual social events.

We moved to an online platform for my regular Headmaster School Tours. I hosted Virtual Open Days and launched Live from the Headmaster’s Desk, a series of live Q&A sessions for prospective parents.

What will teaching and learning look like at BGS in 2021

In these uncertain times, we are prepared to operate in a hybrid learning environment where a combination of distance learning and on-site learning takes place for students across the school.  This approach was timely with the snap lockdown in Victoria earlier this year.

We aim to integrate the best of both learning experiences through our teaching staff to who have delivered content in creative and engaging ways via new digital tools balanced with face-to-face learning to ensure strong student engagement and continued motivation.

As we returned to on-site learning this year, we worked to re-establish opportunities for social contact for the boys. Recreating human connection is something that a screen will never be able to replace.  While we are focused on the here and now, we continue to always keep one eye on the future.

As our School motto says, Meliora Sequamur – let’s pursue better things.

A look back to 2020

2020 was a year of innovation, change, growth and learning.


Exceptional VCE results for the Class of 2020

Brighton Grammar’s Class of 2020 recorded the School’s best academic results in recent history, with Headmaster Ross Featherston describ


Meet our 2020 Dux Jaikob Akinci

2020 Dux Jaikob Akinci's message to the boys: Find your passion!