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Suzanne Waters

How Suzanne helps 2017 Year 9 students make Hagley their place

Mike Fowler —

Head of Junior College Suzanne Waters talks about how she helps new students make a smooth transition into Hagley.

Suzanne has been Head of our Junior College since 1994. Her approach really exemplifies why the Junior College is such a success.

Every Year 9 student coming into Year 9 gets to know Suzanne well - and she gets to know each of them well too. Building great relationships both with Suzanne and with their teachers is the foundation of why things really click in the Junior College. The fact that students keep the same English, Maths, Science and Social Studies teachers for two years through Years 9 and 10 means that teachers get to know each of our Year 9s really well, both as learners and as young people. Suzanne feels that those good relationships are the basis of effective learning as well as feeling good about school and she works hard to achieve that.

Suzanne places a focus on making an early connection with parents and caregivers of our new Year 9 students. “Coming into a new school, it can be a little unsettling that the community focus of the previous school is left behind,” Suzanne says. For her, it’s equally important that students feel comfortable at Hagley. She places great emphasis on our welcome and orientation process and to create a sense of belonging. The interview with each new Year 9 student and their parents or caregivers is an early important step in finding out about each student, their learning needs and what they’re interested in.

Suzanne comments that parents new to Hagley have at times been astonished by the approach we take. “We don’t take a ‘one size fits all’ approach where new students are simply expected to fit into their new school. Our new parents are often surprised to find it’s the opposite, with a ‘what can our school do for you?’ attitude."

Commenting on this year’s new enrolments for Year 9 2017, Suzanne has been impressed by the level of care which has gone into the applications.

Suzanne sees how our new students are nurtured and cared for, treated and respected as young people who graduate from our Junior College into Hagley's large Senior College with its huge range of opportunities. There, they succeed academically and in many other ways, all built on the great foundations that start for them as our new Year 9s in 2017 in our Junior College.