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Q&A with BGS Head of Year 7 Jon Hopes

Why were you inspired to work in Student Wellbeing?

I started at BGS in 1999 and I immediately enjoyed helping students and their families. It quickly became apparent that I found more value in this aspect of education. The then Deputy Head of Curriculum Brian Short and Dean of Studies David Betts encouraged me to pursue this path. I am deeply indebted to both men. Former Head of Year Ian Short, Executive Director Educational Innovation Jacqui Zervos, Deputy Headmaster Ed Roper, and Headmaster Anthony Micallef all taught me how to be a good Head of Year. Each of these influences are different in their own regard, and I try to apply the values they placed in my mind when I do my job.

How do you support the growth of boys throughout their BGS journey?

I treat every student as an individual and the narrative of each family as unique. I work with each family to navigate the nuances of adolescence. Each action is deliberate within the context of the student’s needs.

What is your favourite rite of passage initiative at BGS?

Students starting their BGS journey in the Great Hall on their first day and leaving the Great Hall on their last day of Year 12 is the most symbolic rite of passage undertaken by BGS students. Sitting on stage watching those young men grow up is a privilege that is afforded to very few. The room’s symbolism, combined with the joy and sadness of the last assembly, leaves a profound memory for all.

How do you think Student Wellbeing practices will change in the future?

Data and associated metrics are changing every aspect of modern schooling. In the Student Wellbeing space, measuring each student in all aspects of their schooling and identifying progress is growing more common. Technology makes this monitoring accessible and instantaneous. However, there is a risk of focusing solely on data rather than using a combination of data and interpersonal interactions. BGS maintains this balance well to deliver individualised and personal wellbeing care to each student.

What is the best advice you have for students?

Be respectful, enjoy the company of others and do your best. Most importantly, high school should be enjoyable. The burden of responsibility in this context should be affirming, not debilitating. Use your teachers to achieve this reality; we are here to help.

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