Bradford church schools to pioneer primary school savings clubs

MoneyChurch of England primary schools in Bradford are to be offered the chance to pilot a pioneering project to create school savings clubs which will give pupils as young as four years old practical experience of money management.

The Economic Secretary, Andrea Leadsom MP , has announced the LifeSavers initiative in a speech today (Monday January 19th) and  Bradford in the Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales will be one of three areas to pilot the Church of England LifeSavers programme which the Treasury is funding in 2015.

Under the pioneering scheme, savings clubs administered by credit unions in primary schools will encourage children to save small, regular amounts of money. Children will be given opportunities to take part in the running of the savings clubs, as junior cashiers or bank managers and their practical learning would be reinforced by classroom teaching materials.

Speaking at a Financial Inclusion conference in London, Ms Leadsom also said that Lewisham and Bromley and Nottingham would be included in the pilot scheme. She said, “This will seek to equip primary school children with good financial habits by educating them about the benefits of saving at an early age. It will also introduce children to credit unions.

“This is a hugely valuable programme. It will help tackle the root cause of money problems, and get future generations developing good savings habits as early as possible.”

Richard Noake, Director of Education for the Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales said, “The LifeSavers project is a fantastically conceived programme. I am genuinely excited by the approach as it firmly roots children's learning in practical experience; for children to have the opportunity to learn about how to effectively manage money so as  to benefit self and others could be transformational. The fact that the programme managers have identified Bradford as one of the three pilot project areas is a real coup for the diocese and those of us working in education.

Mr Noake said that schools would be invited to apply to take part in the project which will be launched this coming September. He said, “I am already working closely with the programme managers and we hope to be inviting primary schools with a Bradford post code to apply to be one of the two church schools that will take part in the pilot. Once we have analysed the outcomes of the pilot, launching in September of 2015, we will be looking to roll out the programme to approximately 20 to 30 more of our Church schools.”

The Lifesavers initiative comes out of work between the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Task group and the Credit Union Foundation with the Personal Finance Education Group to develop a national financial education programme for schools, starting with Church of England schools - 1 in 4 of all primary schools. At the centre of this programme will be school-based savings clubs, where children will be encouraged to save small, regular amounts of money and gain practical experience of handling money. This will be combined with a set of accredited resources and training for teachers and a whole community approach to involving parents in their children’s financial education.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby, said, "How we think about and use our money is central to a fulfilled and contented life. That is why I strongly support this exciting initiative to encourage children to develop positive attitudes towards money and the habit of saving. One in four primary and middle schools are Church of England schools, so this programme has the potential to make a significant difference to the lives of millions of children and future adults."

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