Q&A: My Newham

PUBLISHED: 17:00 13 April 2018


Shamsun Nessa (pictured left) is a Newham campaigner and key figure in Avenue Parents Group. She’s been fighting against the academisation of Newham’s schools.

What’s your connection with the borough?

I have been living in Newham for the past 15 years.

My children attend schools in Newham. I have worked with local schools through facilitating parenting classes and have actively supported my children’s school. I am now involved in the campaign against academisation.

I feel quite passionate about supporting families to achieve the best that they can and feel good education is the way forward.

What’s the best thing about working or living in the borough?

It’s close to Stratford and fairly easy to travel further out into the City.

I also enjoy the changes that I have seen over the years, Westfield, Olympic Park, hosting the Olympic Games, West Ham Stadium and an increase in local restaurants and cafes. It all brings in business, money and opportunities for the local community.

What one thing would you change?

The immense poverty which is linked with high rents and poor housing.

Use three words to describe the area.

Culture, community and passion.

Who is the most inspiring person you have ever met?

Diana Stoker, a parent educationalist from the City Lit.

She retired a long time ago but she had such passion for engaging parents in schools, working hard to change the ethos in schools, to bring in parents from the school gates, to create a welcoming environment, supporting parents with their children’s learning and in turn supporting them with their own learning and aspirations.

What new law would you introduce if you were the prime minister?

Bring back state schools!

Academies do not work to improve attainment, teachers are not supported, they encourage a poor retention of staff and parents get left at the school gates.

Through academies we are creating a divide between parents and the school.

If you were the editor of this paper, what issues in the borough would you focus on?

Issues that affect local people like crime, housing, education, community involvement and leisure.

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