A Church of England and Young Enterprise saving scheme for children being piloted by two Bradford schools has been so successful that it is set to go beyond the pilot stage to be rolled out to a further 120 schools around the country.
In its six month report, the LifeSavers initiative - which is a joint venture between the Church of England and Young Enterprise - says that after a successful launch in six schools including Oxenhope C of E primary school and Lidget Green Community school in the Bradford area, it has now received further government backing which with corporate donations will mean that LifeSavers can grow and develop into a second phase.
This week the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rt Rev. Justin Welby will be visiting one of the pilot schools to meet the children, and will be talking about LifeSavers and the importance of this work on Good Morning Britain, on ITV on Wednesday 27th January.
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 has been funding - the two Bradford schools, Oxenhope Church of England Primary School, and Lidget Green community school, have been developing finance education and starting up school savings clubs with the involvement and support of Bradford District Credit Union.
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.”
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. Oxenhope has introduced LifeSavers to their SEN (special educational needs) pastoral support area ‘The Nest’. They have started off using Big Question 2: “How does money make us feel?”
Lidget Green Primary has focused both savings club and financial education on Year 4 and they have created videos about what money means to them which they have shared with the wider school.
Each school in the pilot scheme is now are regularly teaching financial education, based on the LifeSavers school materials. In total there are 1034 students in Lifesavers in some way and 75 teaching staff have had training and support. The school savings clubs are also drawing in volunteers – the majority of these are parents or grandparents of children in the school with the remainder from local churches or school staff.
Children are being 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.
The LifeSavers initiative comes out of the work of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s task force, working with Young Enterprise,to develop a national financial education programme for primary schools. The pilot has involved six schools, five of which are Church of England schools but rollout will offer this as widely as possible to all schools, including non-church schools.
Alison Tsang, Project Manager of LifeSavers, said, “We are delighted at the progress our schools have made and grateful for the support and enthusiasm from credit unions, communities and churches, as well as the fantastic commitment of the dioceses.”
She added, “We had some unexpected funding given to the project by the government last week, along with a commitment of significant funding from corporate donor. So the great news is that LifeSavers will continue beyond the pilot.”