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Volume 9.2 n Creative Teaching & Learning

Modelling Money Matters

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Financial Literacy at Primary School

Creative Approaches


Creative Approaches Financial literacy is an important part of being successful and welleducated. Daniel Ching and Julian Wright show how primary-aged and give them the tools to excel later in life.

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orcesters Primary School is a three form entry school for children aged 3-11, and we currently have over 660 pupils on roll. As a school, we serve a culturally and linguistically diverse area, with over 35 per cent of pupils speaking English as an additional language and families demonstrating a variety of socioeconomic statuses. We believe that providing the best start in life for our pupils is paramount and we strive to promote this through our motto to ‘Be the best you can be!’.

Volume 9.2 n Creative Teaching & Learning

pupils are learning valuable lessons that enhance the maths curriculum

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Creative Approaches

In 2016, the school embarked upon a journey of change with regards to developing greater knowledge and understanding towards financial education. In a world of paying via plastic or mobile devices, we wanted our children to experience the real value of money and understand the importance of budgeting and spending wisely. We needed something that would enhance our mathematical curriculum, not replace or add to it. When we met with RedSTART, a charity dedicated to financial education among primary school children, we knew we had discovered our answer. Their goal is to educate young children about money and put them in charge of their finances. They believe, as we do, that educating the next generation in financial literacy is not a luxury, it’s an imperative. Many of our young pupils lack an understanding of key financial education vocabulary and financial knowledge. Our aim was to equip them with financial concepts to ensure they had the awareness required to make well-educated decisions in later life. Consequently, the very first ‘Money Matters Week’ was born and the RedSTART learning sessions evolved. Fast forward to September 2018 and Worcesters Primary School has already completed its fourth Money Matters Week; created a whole school microeconomy, ‘The Oak Bank’, and begun the next stage of the journey to guarantee we have more financially literate children.

Money Matters

Volume 9.2 n Creative Teaching & Learning

Once a term we run Money Matters Week. During this time, teachers focus solely upon delivering the money elements of the national curriculum, which we pair with our PSHE programme. We’re able to run these dedicated weeks as Money Matters workshops delivered by the RedSTART team, where the programmes are classroomcompatible, specifically designed and impact-measured to help teachers to teach, and young people to learn. During these weeks we have visitors from the finance industry who talk about their careers, including Asha Khan from Citizens Advice Bureau, Robert Gardner from Redington and St. James Place, and Dr Paul E Boscott from Fairlife. We have also had representatives from the Citizens Advice Bureau visit to talk to our children about key financial concepts such as what a pay slip looks like, what our earnings are spent on

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Creative Approaches Volume 9.2 n Creative Teaching & Learning

and what debt is. We were happy that this was giving our children the knowledge of finance, but what lacked was the opportunity for them to apply the skills they had learned. This led to the creation of ‘The Oak Bank’. Throughout the average s c h o o l d a y, c h i l d r e n earn virtual ‘Acorns’ by demonstrating one of the school’s six core values: self-responsibility, selfa w a r e n e s s , h o n e s t y, respect, resilience and e q u a l i t y. A c o r n s c a n be distributed by class teachers and support staff as well as members of the senior leadership team. Each child has their own online bank account where Acorns are deposited. Eventually these will be converted into ‘money’ which the children will be able to withdraw from the school bank and the money can then be spent in the shop. A variety of goods are stocked in the shop, ranging from pens and pencils to the latest crazes such as slime. The shop, which also provides a wide range of educational books and texts linked to the national curriculum, is open every day, run by a team of Year 6 pupils. These pupils had to apply for the post and experienced a rigorous interview process to ensure they demonstrate the appropriate skill set. Additional training was provided to support their use of the computerised banking system, which has been developed by app designers at RedSTART.

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Creative Approaches

The role of the showroom is to showcase the more luxurious items such as pencil cases, Rubik’s cubes, footballs and sports bags. We encourage our pupils to deposit their Acorns into their savings account, which unlike their current account, will allow them to earn interest and as a result help them to achieve their goals over a shorter time period. In addition to developing life experiences and skills, our aim is to enhance the mathematical skills of our pupils through Money Matters Weeks. To monitor the impact of these weeks, we will be giving the children assessment questions throughout the year with the objective of identifying an increase in the number of questions attempted as well as the number answered correctly. Along with this statistical data, we will gather the pupils’ opinions and views on finance.

Why it matters

Volume 9.2 n Creative Teaching & Learning

The pupils have become more aware of the need to invest their money wisely and, more importantly, not get themselves into debt. They have discovered the reality behind debit and credit cards and the fact that this money has to be earned. As one of our year six pupils stated, ‘All of this will help us in the future to avoid going into debt. This programme has been extremely successful and has taught me lots about saving and valuing money.’ The intended impact of the programme is to guarantee that our pupils leave Worcesters with the confidence to manage a budget, understand current versus savings accounts and most importantly, develop the understanding that sometimes you have to wait to be able to afford exactly what you want.

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Emily Smith, Year 6 – ‘The Oak Bank and the Money Matters workshops have helped develop our knowledge of earning money as well as understanding how to spend money sensibly. I’ve also learned how to effectively manage a bank account, which is an important life skill.’

Creative Approaches

Pupil Experience

Abdarrahman Baker, Year 6 – ‘We are having fun whilst learning. The Money Matters workshops are engaging and encourage us to learn and develop life skills, ones which we can put into practice at the school shop and bank.’ Oliver Prowse-Toms, Year 6 – ‘It’s really cool having our own bank account. It has helped us to learn how to save our money not wasting it on things we do not need. My mum has said it has taught me to not be wasteful with my pocket money too.’ ‘When you are older and want to save for a car you will first have to earn money like you have to earn Acorns. You will then have to put the money you have earned into your savings account, to get what you want.’ Amjad Arusi, Year 6 – ‘Money Matters workshops have taught us about investing wisely. We have also learned to be cautious with how we invest our money when we have savings, especially to be cautious with potential scams. If something is too good to be true, like Rich Ricky in the Money Matters games, it usually is!’ Ersi Kukaj, Year 6 – ‘The Oak Bank has been a really good inclusion to school life. We can regularly check how our learning is helping our investments grow. We can then spend wisely on something that we really want.’ During the last two years we feel we have made a substantial difference to the lives of our pupils, making them more financially aware and better equipped to make sound choices regarding money and savings. We feel our next step would be to engage further with our parents, through our children sharing their work and knowledge. So far we have worked with RedSTART to devise a questionnaire which asked which areas of financial education our parents feel they required support in. We are eagerly awaiting their responses.

Daniel Ching is Deputy Headteacher at Worcesters Primary School. Julian Wright is Head of Education Expansion at RedSTART.

For more information on the RedSTART school programmes, visit redstarteducate.org

Volume 9.2 n Creative Teaching & Learning

Looking to the future

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Modelling Money Matters Financial Literacy at Primary School  

Financial literacy is an important part of being successful and well educated. We show how primary-aged pupils are learning valuable lessons...

Modelling Money Matters Financial Literacy at Primary School  

Financial literacy is an important part of being successful and well educated. We show how primary-aged pupils are learning valuable lessons...

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