More Bradford church schools to become 'Life Savers’

Three more Church of England schools in Bradford are to join a pioneering Church of England schools saving scheme during the new academic year starting this month.  

The Life Savers scheme which was piloted by the Church of England and Bradford Credit Union from 2015 (with Oxenhope CE primary as one of two schools involved locally) has proved so successful that now it is being rolled out across the country. 

Under the pioneering scheme, savings clubs administered by credit unions in primary schools are encouraging children to save small, regular amounts of money. Each school has the freedom to introduce the savings scheme in different ways. Pupils have to be responsible for accounting for the money saved and for banking the sums given.

This academic year Christchurch C of E Primary Academy at Shipley, Westminster C of E Primary Academy, Westminster Rd Bradford  and Burley and Woodhead C of E primary at Ilkley will join the scheme, working closely with Bradford Credit Union.

They join four schools,  Lidget Green Primary, Oxenhope C of E Primary, Trinity All Saints C of E Primary Church Street and Riddlesden St Mary’s C of E Primary where pupils are already learning how to save rather than spend. Seventy six children across these four primary schools have so far saved a total of £6231.17 and save an average of £6.57 each per week.

Other schools across the diocese are joining the scheme working with Leeds Credit Union.

At Bingley, fifteen pupils have taken part in the initial launch and staff say they have already grown in self-confidence from the responsibility of running the scheme.

Headteacher of Trinity All Saints, Mrs Jane Glendinning, said, “It is a wonderful opportunity that will equip our pupils with a real understanding about all aspects of money. The skills our pupils will learn will have a far reaching impact on their financial management for the rest of their lives.”

Bradford Credit Union is now trialing a new IT system so that student ‘Bank Tellers’ will be able to process transactions from their fellow students that connects to the  Credit Union system.

Ian Brewer, Financial Inclusion Development Officer for Bradford District Credit Union said,"We are discovering we are now reaping the consequences of the whole attitude change”, adding that  initiatives such as 'LifeSavers' aim to encourage people to start saving again.

The Bishop of Huddersfield, Rt Revd Jonathan Gibbs is the chair of the Steering Group for LifeSavers. He says, “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.”

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