Read all the latest news, stories and case studies about LifeSavers and the schools and credit unions we are working with.
“Without money, we couldn’t live. It affects everything.”
Wise words from a perceptive 7-year-old in one our LifeSavers schools. From relationships and employment to health and well-being, money really does have an impact on most areas of our lives. When we have enough money, it can facilitate positive choices and decisions, but when money is tight, or debts pile up, it can cause real distress and limit the capacity to flourish.
Financial distress is on the rise in the UK. The Money Advice Service estimate that 40% of adults have less than £100 in savings and that one in six individuals in the UK are over-indebted.
How can we prevent the next generation from becoming one of these statistics and what can be done to equip them to manage money wisely in the future?
Research from LifeSavers shows that good financial education in primary schools has a positive impact on children’s mindset and attitudes about money. And, with evidence showing that children begin to form opinions about money from age 7, there is the potential for it to also influence their behaviour, establishing healthy habits like budgeting and saving.
“I now spend my money more carefully. I used to waste it, but now I save it and keep it for important things.”
This is why Just Finance Foundation, with the Church of England and Young Money, is calling for financial education to become a compulsory part of primary school education. Learning where money comes from, when to spend and how to save is vital to children’s ability to navigate adult life and should be a mandatory part of personal, social, health, and economic education (PSHE) in primary schools. Teachers and schools should be given the support and resources to enable them to teach financial education effectively.
In a recent survey of LifeSavers schools, 70% agreed with the need for compulsory financial education and see the value of it for their pupils and communities
“Financial education is important for the Community. Many of our pupils come from a deprived area. It’s important to prepare them, so they have the capacity to manage their money well in the future and model good behaviour when they have children.”
Support our call to see that every child in primary school has an opportunity to learn how to manage money and ask your MP to make their support known to Ministers.
Wednesday, 14 March 2018 10am - 3.30pm
Mary Ward House, London, WC1H 9SN
On the Money is a one-day conference designed to give children the best financial start in life by equipping teaching leads and headteachers to incorporate the LifeSavers approach to financial education and wider learning into their schools, and tailor it to each school’s unique aims and context. This is your one-off opportunity in 2018 to gain a FREE induction to this ground breaking programme, so reserve your places fast!
For more details and information on registering please visit our On The Money Conference Page.
Combining these elements enables meaningful 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 from a young age when many attitudes and habits around money are being formed.
Public Perspectives, an independent research and evaluation organisation, was commissioned to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the LifeSavers programme. This report summaries the interim findings of the evaluation after the first year of delivery during which LifeSavers has engaged with nearly 30 schools, some 500 teachers and over 6000 pupils.
Given that it is early in the life of the programme, one year into a three-year pilot, there is already emerging evidence that LifeSavers is improving the financial capability of pupils, and supporting teachers and schools to be better equipped to deliver financial education.
LifeSavers is celebrating! We’ve reached our first birthday and my how we’ve grown. at some of the things we’ve achieved together over the last year, and look ahead to what’s happening this term in the LifeSavers programme.
72 schools in six regions have joined LifeSavers, and over 6,500 pupils have received financial education that will help set them up for a lifetime of saving and spending wisely. We have also trained 80 more schools to start their financial education journey.
A number of these schools are now heading into their second year of participation and are already seeing the benefits for pupils, staff and parents. Read our case study from Worksop Priory School in Nottinghamshire on page 4, to find out about their experience of LifeSavers.
By the end of this academic year we aim to have registered a further 50 schools. With most of the current LifeSavers schools due to launch their school savings clubs this term, there are already over 500 children saving through the programme.
More savers will be signing up this Autumn and setting their own savings goals – with a focus on Christmas saving and spending.
Like other primary schools running LifeSavers, Worksop Priory has discovered the programme creates an unusual level of interest. "The LifeSavers savings club has created real excitement within the school, with both parents and children keen to be involved," says Felicity Dorrington the savings club coordinator.
"The children get a buzz out of being part of a club, especially those who serve as savings managers. This is often their first real taste of responsibility."
As well as establishing sound financial management at an age when children form their ideas about money and what to do with it, Felicity reports other benefits central to the business of teaching and learning. "LifeSavers is giving children a different approach to maths, and we have already seen an improvement in the children's ability to make calculations and handle money."
But when LifeSavers started, the school had its work cut out to make the opportunity to save a reality for every child.
Although some children save just 20 pence each week, this is testimony to the culture the school has created and the ethos of LifeSavers which stresses the importance of putting money aside on a regular basis to achieve a goal.
"We want children to experience the satisfaction of buying something with their own funds," says Polly Taylor, a Project Co-ordinator at the Just Finance Foundation, home to LifeSavers. "This gives them the confidence of knowing they can achieve their goals independently. When they are adults, they are more likely to question whether they should take – and pay the costs of - easily available credit."
However, saving remains beyond the reach of others. "Sometimes parents simply can't afford for their child to have their own savings account," Felicity explains.
To overcome the barriers, Worksop Priory developed an ingenious approach. First, they introduced the idea of saving as a collective activity. Each class has their own savings account and will decide collectively what to spend their money on at the end of the year.
Then they added chickens. "The school uses some of its Pupil Premium funds to support six allotments, one for each year group, and there are also chickens," laughs Felicity. "Each class grows on their plot and takes it in turn to look after the chickens for a week at a time. They share produce with the school and eat school meals made from the home-grown produce together.
Then they sell the rest – salads, vegetables and eggs - to parents and teachers. All the income goes towards the class savings account." In this way, every child is involved. Pooling effort and sharing the gains bring the LifeSavers values of generosity, thankfulness and justice to life in a particularly vivid way.
Photo: Children at Worksop Priory CofE Primary School learning about saving in a particularly hands-on way – earning their funds together before they decide what to spend them on.
The school may even have found an effective way to amplify wisdom, the fourth value of the programme. "Radishes didn't sell well last year!" says Felicity. "The produce grown this year will have to be chosen more carefully. The children are learning from direct experience how better planning means more money."
Emma-Jayne Turner, LifeSavers Project Manager at Young Enterprise, JFF's delivery partner, comments, "Worksop Priory have raised the bar for us all in LifeSavers. By adding income generation into the mix, their children have a unique insight into the whole cycle of earning, saving and spending. We will study the evaluation with interest to see what difference this makes."
"They are an inspiration," says Paul Eastwood, Director of Partnerships at Virgin Money, LifeSavers' funder. "The way the school has adapted LifeSavers to work for them demonstrates how the core curriculum is just the start of a learning journey. It is a programme that can make a real difference to the growth of young people in every school."