After the success of the inaugural Politics School held in July 2014, the recent February half term (16th-20th February) saw Stephen hold his second Politics School sponsored by London City Airport. Ten students aged 16-18 studying at Newham schools and colleges spent time with Stephen and other leaders to understand more about the mechanisms of politics.
The students spent the early part of the week with Stephen in Westminster participating in media, advocacy and debating workshops as well as meeting a variety of people who work in Parliament. Having spent a day at Newham Council learning more about local government, the students then got a chance to learn about European Politics, staging a mock debate modelled on the European Parliament and having an insightful session with Seb Dance MEP.
The week ended with a day in Newham where the students got the opportunity to visit public spaces, training facilities and businesses that are integral to the regeneration of the borough. The day started with a visit to Stratford station and Westfield to learn about the development of the area and the conditions which led to East London gaining the bid for the Olympic and Paralympic games. After a visit to Crossrail’s training academy in Manor Park which the students got to visit tunnels and see how this impressive construction project has taken shape, they then visited West Ham United to learn about corporate social responsibility and the positive impact businesses have on local areas. The day also included a visit to London City Airport, who sponsored the programme, the offices of the Asian Business Port to hear about their vision for a third financial hub in London and to the Tate and Lyle Sugar factory to get a taste of how politics and business intersect. A trip to Canary Wharf to learn about entrepreneurialism concluded the day.
The day highlighted for the students the important developments that out happening in our borough as London continues to move east and the many opportunities that are being created for residents. Throughout the programme the students gained a sense of the impact that politics has on all our lives and the importance of taking part in the political process to make positive change.
Khuslen, one of the students on the Politics School, said, “My idea of how it would be like was completely different but it was one of the best experiences of my life by far!” For many students, it was their first insight into politics at a local, national and international level and their experiences on the programme have left them all eager to be more engaged in their communities."
Speaking at the end of the week, Stephen said: “Providing this opportunity for students to witness politics up close has proved invaluable for them. It is crucial that young people are engaged with the political process and understand the difference that they can make to our local area. I am very grateful to London City Airport for their continued and generous support with this endeavour and I look forward to the next Politics School!”