Joseph Clarke School was visited by the Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney and the Chief Cashier Victoria Cleland on Thursday. Ms Cleland's name may be a little less recognisable than the Governor's, but her signature appears on every new bank note and she is in charge of everything in the Bank of England to do with physical bank notes.
The visit marked first day that newly designed £10 notes went into circulation. These new tenners are special in that they are the first Bank of England note to include tactile features designed to help people with visual impairments identify them. The features include a cluster of raised, Braille-like dots in one corner and areas of raised text.
Mr Carney and Ms Cleland first met with Mustafa, head of the student school council, and then after a television interview, met with groups of students, to discuss the new note's features, and how they are designed and printed.
The students found the whole conversation fascinating and the Bank of England duo found themselves being closely questioned, on areas from printing technology to security to whether they could take the notes home with them (sadly not) and whether in the future bank notes would disappear. A few of the facts that came out that afternoon included:
- The notes are printed in a facility not far away in Debden
- If all the new £10 notes printed were layed end to end they would stretch from here to Australia and back 4 times - plus enough to make you wealthy.
- Victoria Cleland, doesn't just sign the standard £5, £10, £20 and £50 notes. She also signs special notes called 'Giants' worth £1,000,000 and 'Titans' worth £100,000,000. These are mainly used when transferring money between banks – don't try to use them in Tesco!
The students were intrigued by the idea that Ms Cleland could make a piece of paper be worth £1,000,000 but the Governor explained that there was a little more to it than that. Nonetheless there was brisk demand for autographs at the end of the session.
As they were leaving Ms Cleland presented the school with a beautiful signed Concept Note. This beautiful artwork will be framed and hung in a prominent place in our newly refurbished corridors.
Headteacher, Isobel Cox said: “We’re delighted that the Bank of England chose Joseph Clarke School as the place to show off the innovative features of the new £10 designed to make life easier for people with vision impairments. The Bank’s decision to integrate tactile features into our bank notes is the kind of seemingly small change that can make a massive difference to our students lives. I hope other organisations are inspired by the Bank’s leadership to consider similar changes they can make to their products.”
Victoria Cleland, Chief Cashier at the Bank of England, said: “The Governor and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the pupils here at the Joseph Clarke School and sharing the new Jane Austen £10 note with them. We are very pleased to be introducing the first Bank of England banknote to have a tactile feature, ensuring the nation’s money is inclusive as possible.”
“It is great to see the support that Joseph Clarke is providing to the children we met, who were all very inquisitive about our new note and asked us some insightful questions. Thank you to Isobel Cox and the whole Whitefield Academy Trust for welcoming us today.”