LifeSavers frequently asked questions
Q: How does the LifeSavers programme work?
A: The LifeSavers programme consists of three core activities:
(1) Establishing a school savings club in partnership with the local credit union, which is run by the children under the supervision of adult volunteers. Children are encouraged to save small, regular amounts of money each week and to set themselves savings goals.
(2) Offering intensive support to schools to help integrate financial education within the whole school curriculum. This includes the provision of values-based financial education resources for the classroom, whole-school acts of worship (optional), and training for teachers to deliver age-appropriate financial education.
(3) Facilitating a whole-community approach which actively involves parents, school staff and church volunteers, providing an opportunity for the wider community to contribute to children’s financial education and helping to reinforce positive messages around money.
The main objective of the programme is to increase the number of children that save regularly and that have a good age-appropriate understanding of money as part of a fully-embedded programme of financial education in schools. In addition, the programme seeks to raise awareness and active membership of credit unions and to strengthen communities through closer links between schools, credit unions, churches and other local organisations (see Theory of Change below)
Q: How many schools are currently taking part in the scheme? How many are you rolling it out to?
A: The programme is currently being piloted in six primary schools in three areas – Bradford, Nottinghamshire, and South East London (Lewisham/Bromley). From September 2016 we will be rolling it out to up to 150 more schools in 6 areas over three years. In addition will be making the LifeSavers resources available to all primary schools through a dedicated LifeSavers website, as well as offering tailored consultancy to at least 250 other primary schools to help them to embed financial education into the school curriculum. At least 40,000 children will benefit directly from the LifeSavers programme through the opportunity to participate in a schools savings club and the delivery of classroom-based financial education.
Q: Will you just be working with Church of England schools?
A: The pilot has involved six schools, five of which are Church of England schools. However, the aim for wider rollout will be to work with an equal number of Church of England and other types of primary schools. While one in four primary schools across the country are Church of England run, the intention has always been to offer this as widely as possible to all schools.
Q: Will LifeSavers be available nationally or just in a few areas?
A: The rollout, over three years, will be focused intensively on six areas of the country, but we hope to offer resources and some teacher support nationally. Ultimately, we hope LifeSavers is something that any primary school would want to adopt as part of the work they do with children and their families.
Q: How will you be choosing the schools to take part in LifeSavers?
A: The pilot schools were chosen to represent a wide mix in different contexts and in different parts of the country: Bradford, Nottinghamshire and South East London. As LifeSavers rolls out, we will be looking to expand to other church and non-church schools in these three areas, as well as extending coverage to new areas in partnership with other credit unions. If you are interested in taking part please fill in the survey of interest. We may be able to offer financial education training even if your school is not in one of the rollout areas.
Q: How will the LifeSavers programme be delivered?
A: The programme is being delivered by Young Enterprise, the country’s leading enterprise and financial education charity, working in partnership with the Church of England. Young Enterprise recently merged with Pfeg (Personal Finance Education Group), which has been assisting schools to deliver high-quality financial education for 14 years. In each of the rollout areas, there will be an area coordinator to facilitate the setting up of the savings club, help to embed financial education into the school curriculum, and create opportunities for parental and wider community engagement. Outside the rollout areas, support will be provided through a dedicated website and consultancy support provided by Pfeg’s network of financial education consultants.
Q: Why talk about money with children at primary level? Aren’t they too young to be making money decisions?
A: Online shopping, phone contracts and tuition fees mean that children and young people are having to make complex financial choices at an early age. Evidence shows that many of our attitudes to money are formed by age 7. So, it is vital that children are given high-quality financial education in school to help them to manage money well now and in the future. Learning the habit of saving is particularly important, given the pressures to spend and take on debt. Primary schools act as natural community hubs and so are a key way to reach the entire family and engage them at an early stage in their children’s learning about money .
Q: Where is the evidence of its effectiveness?
A: The design of the programme is based on evidence of what makes for an effective financial education programme, including starting early, providing children with a real experience of managing money, and involving parents and the wider community. We will be monitoring and evaluating the programme carefully over the next three years.
Q: Won't this programme discriminate against children from low income families?
A: Children can contribute any amount of money, however small, and no public record is kept of how much is in each child’s account. This programme is about learning to save regularly and encouraging good habits around money, not about how much money the children are able to save.
Q: Why are you working with credit unions?
A: Credit unions are non-profit making organisations, they are community based and there for the benefit of the local community. Many of them have experience of running school savings schemes.
Q: Haven’t schools been running savings clubs for years? What is new about this?
A: LifeSavers builds on a number of successful small-scale initiatives already happening in different parts of the country, many of them run by local credit unions. For example, Murston Junior School in Sittingbourne recently opened its own school bank, with support from Kent Savers Credit Union and the Diocese of Canterbury. We are grateful to the many credit unions who have shared their expertise in running school savings clubs with us, as we have planned and delivered the LifeSavers pilot.
LifeSavers seeks to develop this work by combining schools savings clubs with an integrated programme of financial education. It also takes the opportunity to encourage parents and carers to take part, ensuring it benefits the whole family. Finally, the project also seeks to draw in the local church and wider community organisations to provide volunteers and other forms of support, so that the running of the savings club is sustainable.