From the MPC to MEPs: Economists get to grips with the levers of power

As Britain faces an uncertain economic future, a trip to central London gave QE Economists valuable insights into the role of the Bank of England and into the country’s changing relationship with Europe.

Open to all Year 11 pupils studying Economics, the trip took in a tour of the Bank of England Museum, discussion of the work of the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), a ride on the London Eye and a visit to Europe House, the information office for the European Parliament.

""The day started at the museum with a presentation on the role of money, interest rates and inflation in the UK economy. The boys found out about the vast vaults holding the UK’s and other countries’ gold reserves and also discovered how to identify genuine banknotes from counterfeits. Economics teacher Sonia Strnad said: “The most popular exhibit by far was the real gold bar: the boys were very surprised at its weight as well as its value.”

There were also direct curricular benefits arising from the day. At the Bank, the boys had the opportunity to discuss factors affecting the MPC when it sets the base rate, thus enhancing their understanding of monetary policy. “This was a valuable supplement to their knowledge and understanding of the Unit 12 topic, Managing the Economy,” Mrs Strnad said.

""Next stop was the London Eye – the world’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel, as the boys learned. After examining the London skyline from their vantage point 135 metres above the River Thames opposite the Houses of Parliament, the group walked through Westminster to Europe House. There they attended a workshop and acted the part of European parliamentarians in a debate on the UK’s future relationship with the EU, whilst learning about the role of key European institutions.

“The boys took their role-playing as MEPs very seriously and their debate was not only well-informed but delivered with confidence and passion,” said Mrs Strnad. “In fact, they were exemplary throughout the day, displaying a keen interest in all the activities.”