New school bank teaches pupils the value of saving

New school bank teaches pupils the value of saving

School children from Bishop Wilson Church of England Primary School are celebrating the launch of a pioneering project arming them with vital life skills including how to save money and budget.

The school is believed to be the first in the North West to unveil its own bank and general store as part of an ambitious business sponsorship scheme giving children practical experience of handling money.

The Bishop Wilson Bank and Mere Stores opened this month in a special celebration event hosted by the school’s governors and drawing support from parents, pupils, teachers, training providers and business sponsors.

The concept has involved the development of a unique school currency, the Mitre.

As part of a new performance scheme, pupils are being rewarded Mitres in recognition of good behaviour and commitment.

Every child in the school from Year R to Year 6 has been invited to open a bank account and to save the Mitres they accumulate to buy toys and stationery from the school store. Interest is paid on their savings at a rate of 10%.

Pupils have been involved in every stage of the process, including designing the all-important bank notes.

The idea not only challenges children to take ownership and responsibility for their money, it has also given pupils a taste of life in the real world with the youngsters themselves recruited for the roles of bank manager, assistant bank manager, cashier, shop manager, assistant shop manager and shop assistant.

Syed Rashid, parent governor, said: “This project was all about putting Bishop Wilson Primary School on the map. It’s located in the heart of Burton, but is the best kept secret in terms of local primary schools and we wanted to increase the awareness of our school and see an increase in our intake of pupils.

“We also wanted to bring an identity to the school that would be represented by our pupils, staff and be able to engage with local business partners to work alongside us in enabling our children to learn about saving money and understand about earning interest within our bank from their savings.”

 

School governors have secured an initial £5,300 in business sponsorship to launch the project and fund the first year of the bank and store, attracting backing from a host of companies including interior designers Merilyn Phillips Exquisite Interiors, training provider Academy One, Burton Manor Development Ltd, and accountancy firm Haines & Watts.

 

The project has also received advice and support from recruitment specialists Russell Taylor Group, communications specialists Bettsy & Co, Gocre8, which produced signage, and Art Days, which was appointed to paint and create the shop and bank.

 

Merilyn Phillips, managing director of Merilyn Phillips Exquisite Interiors, which is a gold sponsor of the scheme, contributing £2,000, said: “Having worked with other primary schools, this project appealed to us as it was reinforcing a unique reward system within the school which encourages the children to save money/tokens, as well as spend them. 

“This is a life skill I believe is not covered enough through our current curriculum and which is essential to daily life, teaching the children to understand how to handle money/tokens and allowing them to spend them straight away to gain a small reward, or to save their tokens to put towards a larger reward, thus reinforcing a “spend some – save some culture”. 

“I also thoroughly endorse the rewards on offer being pencils and other stationery and fun items and not solely sweets, which links in with Healthy Eating which is being actively encouraged nationally.

“The whole idea from its inception through to its launch has been wonderful to follow as a sponsor and I wish the children the very best of luck with their new venture and look forward to receiving updates going forward.”  

Pam Knight, practice services coordinator for Haines Watts Wirral, which also sponsored the project, said: “Haines Watts Wirral is delighted to have the opportunity to support the school campaign, Bishop Bank and Mere Stores.

“We think it is a fabulous idea and offers the pupils of Bishop Wilson an invaluable opportunity to experience real life financial and job seeking scenarios which they can take with them into adult life.”

The project is likely to give life to similar projects across Merseyside and Cheshire as part of a long-term aim to equip children with the skills they need to manage money in the future. 

Lily, 11, who was appointed as Bishop Wilson Bank’s first manager, said: “It means a lot to be the bank manager at Bishop Wilson because nobody else has ever has this opportunity and it means that I can help out in the school.”

Zack, 11, who is manager of the school’s Mere Stores, added: “Working in Mere Stores is exciting, as you get to manage stock and dealing with customers. It helps children to save up for better things to buy!”