Fundamentally it is undeniable that the make-up of Stratford has changed. With the opening of Westfield Shopping Centre, the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and exposure of the London 2012 Olympics. There is no doubt that such activities and investments have raised the profile of Stratford in a positive way.
Whilst such changes and investments are perceived to be positive to those from the outside looking in. I do question what difference it has made to people who live within the community. Levels of unemployment still remain high for young people. The standard of education in comparison to other boroughs still remains poor and the attainment gap between ethnicity groups continues to increase.
I have lived in Stratford all my life and am able to have a viewpoint of Stratford from a number of perspectives. As a child growing up and being educated in East London. As an employee working at the University of East London for eight years. As a School Governor operating at a strategic level and finally, but my no means the least as a parent of a daughter currently being educated in Stratford and about to make the transition into secondary school.
I must admit, it was difficult for me to write about Stratford as I have an opinion on so many aspects. However, if I were asked for my top tips around LCF and the move to Stratford it would be to:
- Be receptive to the needs of the community as well as maintaining the ethos of LCF.
- Have an awareness that experiences, education and perceptions of the community will differ from what LCF may currently be used to due to the demographics of London Borough of Newham and its surrounding boroughs.
- Ensure that staff at all levels represent the diversity of the community and recognise that such diversity will bridge the gap between language and learning styles.
- Think about (what I call) the “so what” factor. LCF are moving to Stratford, so what? What are LCF expecting to achieve moving to Stratford? How will it really benefit the community?
- Be the difference you would like to see. Embrace the change, rather than fear the change.
Dionne is the Programme Lead Administrator for the School of Media and Communication, LCF.
Image: Waddington Street and Alma Street, E15. Credit: Newham Film Office