From the Head of Crowther Centre – Dr Ray Swann

Welcome back to Term 2!

I trust you had a wonderful time across Easter, and also took some time to recognise the message of renewal and transformation through the life cycle of change depicted at the heart of the Christian message.

Engagement measures in Brighton Grammar classrooms

As previously communicated, one of our primary goals this semester is to improve the engagement of our boys in their learning. Engagement is crucial to creating purpose and meaning at school, so it’s important that we are taking steps to check in on how we are going with this, but also to ensure that we are constantly improving.

How do we measure engagement in classes?

We use the coaches who are visiting classes to record (often with video) teaching and learning. To that end, we look at three metrics that help to establish a learner-friendly class, namely: level of engagement, ratio of interactions and number of disruptions.

To measure the level of engagement (or time on task), an engagement score is taken at least six times per lesson via a ‘behaviour sample’ – that is, a score of whether the students at that moment (individually) are engaged. According to Jim Knight (world coaching expert from the University of Kansas who will be running a training through Crowther later this year), to be at a mastery level, you should have engagement at least 80% of the time (complete attention).

Next, we look at the ratio of interactions between students and staff. This means that we record samples of how the teacher uses positive or negatively framed corrections during the lesson. We know (and it’s common sense really) that the ratio should be at least three positive to one corrective statement (3:1). In other words, the teacher should be positively reinforcing or being a ‘witness to the good’ learning behaviour in the class.

Finally, we also look at lesson interruptions, which can happen in class for a variety of reasons. For instance, if a boy has forgotten to bring a resource, he might put up his hand to request permission to retrieve it from his locker. Interruptions can also occur if a boy is not focussed. In short, in a very good class, there should be fewer than four interruptions every 10 minutes.

Across the term, over 70 classes were visited and around 4500 data points observed. You can see below the results – we were really pleased to see that across the School, we are already at our targets for creating learner-friendly classrooms.

The next step is to measure and monitor our progress as more staff are involved.



Upcoming events

Parent focus groups

Looking ahead, we are excited to be running two focus groups next week. The focus groups will explore mother and son activities and also the role of our boys in community service. We are pleased to say that the level of interest in these events has been fantastic, and we are now fully booked.

For those interested please email us at, and we will provide information from the focus groups at a later date.

Future workshops

Should you wish to attend a workshop on creating a learner-friendly home, please send expressions of interest to

Alternatively, if you have topic requests or any feedback for us, we would love to hear your thoughts. Please email us at