Bank of England Chief Economist Goes Back to School

Young bankers at the Josephine Butler Primary Campus had a new trainee cashier to put through his paces – the chief economist of the Bank of England.

Named by TIME magazine as one of the Top 100 most influential people in the world, Andy Haldane works with the governor of the bank to decide what the base rate of interest should be.

He took time out from his office in Threadneedle Street, London, to visit the school’s LifeSavers Bank.

The bank has been running for over a year and is setting the benchmark nationally for how the LifeSavers programme can be integrated into the curriculum and school life.

Each week, children can make a deposit into their account and see their savings grow. It is part of a wider programme that aims to teach children from nursery upwards and their families about managing finances – from APR and savings to bagging the best deal in the supermarket.

With attitudes towards money formed as young as seven, it is hoped the LifeSavers programme will promote lifelong good habits.

Mr Haldane said: “The school’s bank is brilliant and the children’s pleasure and pride in running it is clear.

“Through the LifeSavers programme they are learning about maths in an interesting way and also about money and the importance of saving for the future.”

Cashier Bobbi-Jo, said: “I really enjoy helping to run the bank. One of the best parts is seeing the smiles on the faces of the younger children when they find out how much they have saved.”

Fellow cashier Sian, Y6, added: “He talked to us about interest rates and about saving to get things that you’d like to buy and also for retirement. I felt really proud that he came from the Bank of England to see how we run our bank at school.”

LifeSavers is a financial education programme for primary schools, helping children and their families manage money wisely. It provides training and resources for teachers, offers support for school savings clubs, and encourages parental and wider community engagement.

LifeSavers is a partnership between the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Just Finance Foundation and Young Enterprise, with financial support from Virgin Money and the Government.

Mr Haldane also spoke to parents at the school to find out more about how they were affected by the cost of living and heard concerns that ranged from the impact of universal credit, through to the rising cost of everyday essentials, the prevalence of loan companies, lack of local jobs and poor transport links.

He also visited Hirst Welfare Centre, where he discussed regional perspectives on the economy with students studying economics at the Academy’s sixth form, JBVI.

Along with his team, he makes regular trips around the country to help him better understand what is happening in the real economy. Through regional Agencies, the bank is also carrying out engagement activities with schools to try and make both the bank and economics more accessible to people.

Mrs Cole, deputy headteacher of the Josephine Butler Primary Campus, said: “It was a real honour to welcome Mr Haldane and his colleagues to our school. The success of the bank is down to the children who run it with such enthusiasm and all our brilliant savers.

“We have also had excellent feedback from parents too. Financial management is a vital skill to learn and LifeSavers is a great programme to support us in doing that.”

Read more about what Mr Haldane thought about his visit on his BLOG