Dr Ray Swann, Deputy Headmaster and Head of Crowther Centre

For many, 2020 was an incredible year of change, challenge and growth.

There were new insights, new ways of working and being, opportunities for development. There was reflection. It was, to paraphrase Charles Dickens, a year of the best, the worst, of hope, and at times, incredulity.

For over 138 years, Brighton Grammar has delivered a relationships based, person-to-person instructional model based on what works best for boys. In 2020, we attempted to take all of the learnings from our institution and community, and move online.

What did we see? We saw innovation, change, growth and learning. Some of these we will keep and use. Some will fall away and come undone.

A quick photo before the first webinar on Distance Learning.

Throughout the year, we have focused on the boys, their learning and wellbeing. Staff were trained in building engagement in online classrooms, providing energisers, improving peer-to-peer contacts to minimise isolation, and balancing how much screen time was needed.

We developed more sophisticated ways of measuring progress and reporting as well as improving our ‘checks for understanding.’ We spent 100s of hours in rebuilding the timetable several times over to facilitate distance learning.

We told the boys stories to keep the ‘dragons’ and ‘black dogs’ at bay; we heard from inspirational leaders like School Captain Jack Clarkson, we laughed at the antics of Mr Marshall’s weekly hit, The Den of the Doyens of Distance Learning. For a school based on the science of learning, there was a lot more art and nuance.

(L) Mr Tim Marshall somewhat overdressed, in his weekly series with Dray Ray Swann, ‘The Den’

We engaged our parents through our three cornered partnership. We provided webinars on distance learning, how to set up your home, parenting tips for building engagement as well the latest research into Positive Masculinity. Our parents responded by being highly engaged, providing crucial input and feedback into our programs as they were being rapidly developed and implemented whilst being closely monitored. In turn, parents shared their experiences through webinars, talks and emails.

Perhaps the strongest message from the boys arrived later in the year. Having wrestled with the year, they produced a powerful message from their legacy project: Make It Count.

Whilst we didn’t hear the chanting, they told us in no uncertain terms:

‘the dance still goes on’

A year of firsts

Key school events transitioned online in 2020.


A year of support and connection

In 2020, the ISPG connected and supported each other.


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