From the Head of Crowther Centre – Dr Ray Swann

Engaging Parents

Last year, we collected data from you as parents about the sessions we offer (information sessions, seminars, workshops…) in terms of timing, number and content. It was great to see that parents felt that we had the level of communication ‘about right’. This was also evidenced by the Secondary School at the recent Parent Teacher Nights:
– 76% of parents attended, amounting to 569 parents; and
– 3548 interviews were completed in approximately 10 hours.

Still, as Sir Graham Henry said at the start of the year, ‘Better never stops.’ This term, we are running a parent workshop examining our new learning model and how parents can build routines at home to support their son. This workshop is booked out but we will be running some further workshops after we evaluate your feedback on this one – stay tuned!

We know that the home is a key part of the learning process. John Hattie’s book Visible Learning into Action comprises a set of case studies from across the world looking at best practice in evidence-informed teaching. A characteristic of high-performing schools in New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, Sweden, the United States and Finland is that their parents are highly informed about the work of the school and feel part of ‘the story’.

As a parent, it’s sometimes difficult to know where to set the bar in terms of standards and expectations for learning. Being part of a community of parents that share a vision can be extremely helpful for you, and a powerful agent for growth in your son. It can help your son to clarify what he needs to do to be an effective learner, when and for how long. Further, engaged and knowledgeable parents provide extremely valuable feedback to our teaching and learning programs here at Brighton Grammar.

It’s easy to lean one way or the other in our response to our son’s behaviour – to focus on giving either praise and reward, or punishment (‘That’s it – no PlayStation for a year!’). However, we know that good parenting involves a long, steady burn. It’s about dialogue, building and maintaining the relationship, and adapting the relationship as your son develops. It’s about the art and science of knowing when to insist, and when discretion is required. Across my 20+ years of teaching and working with parents, I have come to the conclusion that good parenting is hard – and there is no one path. But there are methods that can, and do, work. We’re trying to work with you to use these methods at School and at home. Ultimately, we’re here for the boys – and their success. So it is all worth it – every last bit!


The Morrisby Report, VCE and Subject Selection

This week, our Careers Counsellor, Dr Sophie Keele, met with the Year 10 boys to talk about the Morrisby Report (a career-assessment tool designed to assist life-long learning and career planning), VCE and subject selection. If you have a son in Year 10 or are otherwise interested, the slides from Sophie’s presentation are available here.


Upcoming events

Is your son in, or heading into, adolescence? We are planning an Engaging Adolescents workshop, with a focus on building communication with your son as well as managing technology (very topical at present). To register your interest, please email us at:

For Secondary School parents, I will be speaking at the BGSPG meeting on Tuesday 13 March about the Wellbeing Programs and the direction of the School. The meeting is at 7pm in the Wellbeing Centre (Allee Street) – all welcome!