Two primary schools in Bradford, one a community school and one a Church of England primary school, have been chosen to pilot a pioneering project to create school savings clubs which will give pupils a practical experience of money management from an early age.
Bradford in the Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales was one of three areas in the country invited to pilot the Church of England LifeSavers programme which the Treasury is funding in 2015 and the two schools, Oxenhope and Lidget Green, will be developing finance education this coming autumn term. It is anticipated that school savings clubs will begin later in the term.
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.
Lidget Green Primary School is already a centre of excellence for finance education and is the only community school taking part in the pilot.
The Bishop of Huddersfield, Rt Revd Jonathan Gibbs, chairs the steering group overseeing the LifeSavers programme. He said, “Jesus had a lot to say on the subject of money and how we use it. Helping children to handle money wisely and well gives them some really important skills for life in today's world, and I am delighted that local churches are getting involved in the delivery of this exciting new programme. It is part of our commitment to the education and well-being of the children of our nation.”
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.”
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.