Monday, 19 September 2016

Whitley pupils quiz Mark Carney in BBC live broadcast

On Friday 16th September, Whitley hosted the visit of Mark Carney (Governor of the Bank of England) in a live BBC television event. This was an invaluable experience for our students, who were given the chance to observe the BBC live production team, work with BBC reporters and presenters, and quiz Mark Carney on issues impacting their families locally.

The Day the Governor Came to Whitley

Written by Duncan, Melissa, Divya and Eliana - Year 8 & Year 10 Student Reporters

The day had arrived! Outside the weather turned a bit cooler than yesterday, Thursday 15 September was the hottest September Day for a long time.

We all arrived at school much earlier than usual to get prepared for the arrival of Mark Carney. For the whole week before his arrival we did some research about him and watched the BBC News to get ready for the event. We all were extremely excited (and of course nervous). Mr Steinhaus, Mr Price and Mrs Nguyen (our main teachers who organised the event) must have felt the same.

Josie from the BBC School Reporters came to help us out the day before. It was really amazing to see how much preparation needed to be done before Mark Carney’s arrival. We knew there were questions sent to us from BBC School Reporters around the country, and finally 18 questions were chosen for us to ask.

In the Auditorium, we were told that Mark Carney had trouble getting to Coventry because the train he was on was derailed. It took him a bit more time to come to our school. We were given extra time to think about the questions and of course some more … cookies.

9:45am - We went into the auditorium and waited for 10 minutes before Mark Carney arrived at our school. Minutes before going live Paul (the floor manager) told us when he waved we needed to clap our hands. It was unbelievable to see all the equipment the BBC staff had to arrange for a live television event. They came to our school at 6 am this morning! Wow!

Tina Daheley, BBC Presenter, introduces Mark Carney to an excited Whitley Academy audience. 

Then Paul counted …five…four…three…two …one! It’s live now.

As we went live it was hard to keep yourself under control. No sneezing, talking or yawning. Of course you had to switch your mobile phone off completely!


It was quite nerve-racking when Tina Daheley (the BBC presenter for BBC Crime Watch) started talking because once we went live there was no going back.

As Mark walked in we applauded him. He gave us a short speech about the journey to come to Coventry (there was a landslide in Watford Junction), the UK economy, what the Bank of England does, and how he came to be who he is today.

I (Melissa), asked him a questions about his childhood nickname. He told us that he used to be called “Carnage” and “Carnival” because his last name was Carney. He was quite relaxed to answer my question. I found it interesting to know that he preferred the nickname Carnage. So would I if I were him!

Once you put aside the technical difficulties, everything ran smoothly. I even managed to sit in the same chair that he sat in during the live event!

After the live talk with Mark Carney we headed back to the Learning Resource Centre, which was transformed into our base for the day, and had a little talk with Kamal Ahmed. We sometimes see Kamal on BBC News and now we could talk to him in person. How cool!

The way how he interacted with us made us feel comfortable and confident to ask him many questions. Joe (our Year 10 reporter) was busy with the filming so that we could have a look at the video and learn more later.

Some of the questions included:
  • “How did you become a journalist?”
  • “Is your job hard?” 
  • “How would your past self react to the job you have now?”
  • “What do you do in your free time, as you are quite a busy person?”
Kamal talked about how he came from a state school education and when he was 16 he had no idea of what he wanted to do in the future. By taking the opportunities that were given to him along the way he managed to end up with the job he has now.

After studying in university he chose to start print journalism from the bottom and work his way up. By doing this he had the opportunity to gain more experience and even told us some of his stories about the small articles he wrote – one of them being a report in 1990 on how the new phones which had the internet were going to replace newspapers. Wow!

Through Kamal’s talk we learned that you need to have a passion for the job you want to do and take the opportunities that come your way. How true!
Our reflection after the visit of Mark Carney.
  • William (Year 9 reporter): “ Never give up and always follow your dreams!
  • Joe (Year 9): “You need to be passionate in what you are doing in order to succeed.”
  • Melissa (aged 12): “ If a normal Canadian can be the Governor of the Bank of England, then anything is possible”. 
  • Kian (aged 13): “No matter where you come from or how much your parents earn, you can do anything if you put the effort in it.”
  • Divya (14 years old): “Despite being from a  low income family, it’s up to me to decide how my future will go and we all need to take every opportunity that comes my way because I never know where that could take me to”.
Going into the BIG INTERVIEW, we didn’t know how Mark Carney would relate to us. However; after meeting him and hearing about his life, we at Whitley have learnt so much.

We hope to interview many more inspiring and influential people that help to shape our futures.

The event was broadcast live on the BBC's 'Victoria Derbyshire' programme, and is available to view here -

Kamal Ahmed, Economics Editor for the BBC, reported on the event, which is viewable here -