Schools Plus was delighted to recently have had the opportunity to host the flagship BBC political debate series, BBC Question Time at our partner school Thetford Academy.
We love the challenge of hosting prestigious live events such as this one and our fantastic staff really went above and beyond to make sure everything ran smoothly for the episode, which was broadcast on Thursday June 6th 2019.
Our Venue Manager, Michelle Lucas was involved from start to finish and we are delighted to share with you her recap of the events. Not only is it a great read but it demonstrates the work Schools Plus are willing to put in to accommodate customers booking requirements.
Over to Michelle….
The Schools Plus Customer Contact Centre received a call from the head of production of BBC Question Time back in November 2018, asking about the possibility of Thetford Academy being used as a filming venue. I was then given Danielle’s, the head of production, contact details to look into the enquiry.
The first thing I did was call Danielle to introduce myself and discuss the requirements in more detail. From there, I arranged a meeting with the Principal’s PA to discuss initial viability of the event, so I could give Danielle an indication into the opportunities.
From the very first meeting with the school, it was evident that they were very keen to host the prestigious show and excited at the opportunity. Following on from this point, there were a lot of communications and various meetings with Thetford Academy and the BBC as well as site tours from broadcasters and production leads. To ensure the event went well, I made sure I stayed in close contact with all people involved throughout the process.
Then came the day of filming! As the set up for the production was during the school day it was critical I had enough staff on site, as we needed to escort every crew member without fail to ensure the safeguarding levels were maintained.
The team were not only responsible for escorting staff but for various tasks from photocopying the BBC plans and schedules to cleaning the glasses used by the panel during filming. Health and safety, customer service and safeguarding focuses were paramount.
The staff had a long and busy day but stayed professional and hardworking throughout. They managed to experience sitting at the infamous set where we managed to capture a team photo of myself, Lia, Chloe, Lois, Victoria and Arielle as well as my Area Manager Wayne Cryer.
To say a big Thank You for their hard work, I arranged for pizza’s to be delivered as a dinner treat…however I think they were more impressed with their selfies with Piers Morgan! Piers, and all the other panellists were true delights on set and they were only too happy to engage with the team and the lucky pupils who got to escort the panellists.
There were also some student events during the day where selected students could be part of the day which was an amazing experience. As well as my amazing schools plus team, the onsite team were fabulous, with support from many staff but in particular the ones that went above and beyond were Helen, Ilona, Luke and Andy.
The whole event went really well, both Thetford Academy and the BBC were very pleased with the outcome. The audience members thoroughly enjoyed the experience and their visit was managed flawlessly. It’s not every day I can say I get to escort Piers Morgan to the bathroom… but I can honestly say I would and do treat any customer with the same respect and service as will my team.
Many thanks to Michelle for not only her hard work organising and managing the event but also for sharing the experience with us on the blog today. We hope this recap demonstrates the hard working staff we have and the commitment they will show to make sure your event runs smoothly!