back to top

What is LifeSavers?

LifeSavers is a financial education programme for primary schools, helping children manage money wisely now and in the future. We provide training and resources for teachers, offer support for school savings clubs, and encourage parental and the wider community engagement. LifeSavers is a partnership between the Archbishop of Canterbury's Just Finance Foundation and Young Enterprise, with financial support from Virgin Money and Government.

There are three key elements to LifeSavers’ whole school approach to financial education:

  • Resources and training for teachers to embed financial education into the school curriculum
  • Support for school savings clubs to give children a practical experience of handling money
  • A whole community approach that involves parents, credit unions and churches in helping children learn about money

Combining these elements enables classroom learning to be put into practice through participation in the savings club, with the active support of parents and other community organisations. This reinforces positive messages about money from a young age when many habits around money are being formed.

Our values-based approach to financial education explores what it means to be wise, generous, just and thankful with our money, recognising that attitudes are as important as knowledge and skills in shaping people’s financial behaviour.

From the Archbishop

LifeSavers was born out of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Task Group on Responsible Credit and Savings, which identified a gap in the provision of financial education in primary schools. Listen to the Archbishop explaining his vision for LifeSavers.

Archbishop Justin Welby met with young savers at St Bartholomew's Primary School, South London in January 2016.

Read the blog of his visit

Why LifeSavers?

Research from the Money Advice Service finds that many habits around money have already been formed by the age of 7. Early intervention in financial education is, therefore, critical to instill positive behaviours and attitudes in relation to money.

Online shopping, phone contracts, tuition fees, and the accessibility of credit cards and payday loans means that children and young people are having to make complex financial choices and are exposed to debt at an earlier age. Combine this with the fact that the use of physical cash is declining as cashless payment systems increase, the world of money can appear very confusing to many children.

Yet, the current provision of financial education in schools is patchy and inconsistent, especially in primary schools. Only one in five teachers has received training in how to deliver it, and just 5% of parents think that their children leave school with the skills needed to manage money well. Often, teachers lack the confidence, know-how and resources to put together an age appropriate, relevant and engaging programme of financial education for their school.

Where is LifeSavers?

Following a successful pilot, the LifeSavers programme is being rolled out intensively to primary schools in four regions – the North East, Nottinghamshire, South East London, and West Yorkshire - with plans to extend to two more regions from next year. Outside these areas, we are offering all primary schools free access to the LifeSavers classroom and collective worship resources, and a free CPD training workshop in how to develop a whole school approach to financial education.

Click here if you are interested in taking part

Case study: St John’s Nottingham

Fi Belton, a senior teacher at St John the Baptist Primary School in Colwick, Nottingham and the school’s LifeSavers Champion, talks about her experience of taking part in the LifeSavers programme.

“We launched LifeSavers in St John's with an exciting 'Money Week' that the whole school participated in. As well as a visit from a 'maths magician', there was a special assembly, where we were joined by the Manager of Nottingham Credit Union, and a school competition to design our savings club logo.

Six children were picked to run the savings club with the help of three adult volunteers including our local vicar! The children's enthusiasm for the scheme has been infectious. One of first junior savers brought his form back to school saying that his mum also wanted to join the credit union, so we can already see the potential impact of LifeSavers on our whole school community.

Teaching staff have completed their training and are using the curriculum linked financial education resources in their classes. I can see how LifeSavers will have a big impact on the children at St John's."

About the Just Finance Foundation

The Just Finance Foundation was established by the Church of England and Church Urban Fund to develop and implement the Archbishop of Canterbury’s vision of a fairer and more just financial system. We work with credit unions, churches, schools and other local organisations to strengthen the financial resilience of communities through financial education and improved access to responsible credit and saving and free debt advice services.

Find out more

About Young Enterprise

Young Enterprise is the UK’s leading charity that empowers young people to harness their personal and business skills. We work directly with young people, their teachers and parents, businesses and influencers to build a successful and sustainable future for all young people and society at large.

Find out more