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From Bullied to Brilliance

From Bullied to Brilliance

Lillie Haigh, a Year 12 student at The BUSY School Cleveland Campus, has defied the odds and transformed her schooling experience from one of despair to triumph. Lillie shared her inspiring story of overcoming a history of being bullied throughout her schooling which resulted in disengagement from her education. Since attending The BUSY School, Lillie has achieved an impressive 97% attendance rate – and her happiness and academic results have risen dramatically.

Lillie’s educational journey had been fraught with challenges, attending five different primary schools and facing bullying at each one. The torment continued into high school, where she found herself at her most vulnerable, retreating into isolation and sadness. “Before I came to The BUSY School, I was severely bullied at five primary schools and one high school,” Lillie recounted. “I didn’t want to come to school. I faked being sick or wagged school.”

The turning point came when Lillie enrolled at The BUSY School. Unlike her previous experiences, she found herself in a welcoming and supportive environment. “I didn’t get left in a corner like my other schools,” Lillie noted. “Here, I felt at home.”

At The BUSY School, Lillie found solace and support. The school’s focus on restorative conversations, facilitated by Principal Andrew Cavanagh, allowed her to address challenging relationships and move forward positively. “I feel safe at The BUSY School. I am supported and have the tools to fix issues,” Lillie emphasised.

The supportive atmosphere extended to the classroom, where Lillie thrived with the help of dedicated teachers and small class sizes. “When you don’t understand a question, the teachers help you understand it and give you different strategies to learn,” she explained.

Her newfound happiness and sense of belonging at The BUSY School is reflected in her attendance rate, soaring from a stressful 29% to an impressive 97%. “I was always worried I’d get kicked out, but here I am always here, no matter what,” Lillie proudly stated.

Looking to the future, Lillie is determined to complete a four-year Automotive apprenticeship and pursue a career in the industry. She dreams of starting her own business, celebrating local businesses that provide opportunities for students like her and championing women in traditionally male-dominated trades.

“When I leave school, I know I will have a good hard earning job and will be able to save a lot more and be financially happy. We also learn how to save and budget in our classes and everyone in general helps me understand more about money.”

Lillie’s story serves as a testament to the transformative power of education and support. Her advice to others facing adversity is simple yet profound, “Just fight through, you’ll get through it! Before, I was always down. I would lie to my mum when she asked if I was ok, and just say I was fine.

“I didn’t know if I wanted to change schools again, but ever since coming here I feel at home. My first day was overwhelming at first but when I got the hang of it, I instantly fell in love with the school. Here I am always happy.”

With the unwavering support of The BUSY School behind her, Lillie has emerged as a role model for resilience and hope for students everywhere.

In an educational landscape where disengagement is now a critical issue, Lillie’s journey demonstrates the importance of alternative learning, support and personalised attention. As BUSY School educators strive to create environments conducive to learning and growth, Lillie’s top tip is clear, “Ask for help. You always get it. When you don’t understand a question, the teachers help you understand it and give you different strategies to learn.

In celebrating Lillie’s success, The BUSY School reinforces its commitment to nurturing every student’s potential and ensuring that no one is left behind.

Employer with school student in workplace 

Lillie (R) is looking forward to pursuing a career in the automotive industry and has re-engaged with her education, thanks to The BUSY School.

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