I’ve never been happier at a school, and I’ve been to a few. Hagley is the first school I’ve gone to where I’ve felt instantly comfortable. I haven’t had to adjust or take a few weeks to feel right.
Coming to Hagley was a huge changing point in my life. At previous schools I felt like I didn’t belong, but here, everyone belongs. I came out as transgender at Hagley. Coming here gave me the confidence to come out. It’s just so welcoming and so accepting. No-one tells you that you have to do things a certain way or be a certain way.
The no uniform was a big selling point, especially as a trans student, but it’s the people I stay for. I’ve made really good friends, real friends. There’s a bigger connection at Hagley that makes it different to other schools.
The teachers are different too. They don’t talk down to you but treat you like an equal, which makes being in class so much easier. The work is the same, but it feels easier because the teachers are so encouraging and no-one’s on your back. I’ve had some bad encounters with teachers in the past, but I’m yet to meet a bad teacher at Hagley.
For me as a learner if I respect my teachers, it makes all the difference. It makes being in class so much easier. I’m coming here by choice. I show up by choice because I like being here.