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Q&A with BGS Head of Year 9 Larry Carmichael

What does your role involve, and what do you enjoy about your role?

As I reflect on 14 years as a BGS Head of Year, I would say that the most enjoyable part of the role is watching the development and growth of boys in the cohort individually and as a group. I also enjoy collaborating with parents and staff to support boys throughout their BGS journey. The diverse nature of the role provides its challenges, but there are very few dull moments.

 

How do you identify concerns and support boys’ mental wellbeing?

Knowing and understanding your cohort is essential to be able to support boys’ mental wellbeing effectively. At BGS, Head of Years travel with boys from Year 7 through to Year 12, presenting a unique opportunity to get to know boys on an individual basis. This longitudinal connection, combined with regular feedback through cohort pulse checks and other data, allows us to identify boys at risk. The roles played by the Assistant Head of Year, Form Tutors, and Student Services staff in supporting and monitoring boys are also valuable.

 

What are your favourite Student Wellbeing initiatives at BGS and why?

Two initiatives stand out for me. The Student Wellbeing curriculum, delivered each week, has developed significantly over recent years. The curriculum aims to deliver key age-appropriate messages to assist boys as they navigate their way through their adolescence. The second would be the Outdoor Education program, which plays a crucial role in giving boys an opportunity to grow through experiencing challenges, as well as develop resilience and leadership.

 

What is your favourite rite of passage initiative at BGS?

The Tie Ceremony at the end of Year 8 is a particularly important rite of passage as it marks the transition from Middle School to Senior School as they enter Year 9. This is a significant transition, and we have worked to make it as seamless as possible for students. The ceremony is only part of the process but is a powerful symbol of boys’ preparedness for the second half of their BGS journey.

 

What is the best advice you have for students?

Make decisions based on your principles and values. I believe in the concept of “the man in the mirror.”

Do things because they are the right thing to do, not to gain an advantage. It is challenging, but being true to yourself is something I hope boys develop during their time at BGS.

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