Financial Literacy Success

fiji imageFor a while now I have been following the progress of a financial education programme in Fiji. It seems to me that if a relatively small country in the Pacific can get its act together and provide meaningful financial education for its children then countries closer to home should take a look and see what can be learned.

Here’s the latest courtesy of the Fiji Times:

CLOSE to 200,000 students in more than 900 schools now have access to financial literacy programs, thanks to an initiative by the Ministry of Education and the Pacific Financial Inclusion Program.

This was the message from the deputy secretary for Education Kelera Taloga while speaking at the Pacific Microfinance Week workshop in Nadi yesterday.

She informed microfinance stakeholders that the Fiji Financial Education Curriculum Development Project involved the strengthening of financial education within the school curriculum for primary and secondary schools.

“We have identified that financial education is something that has been lacking so we have rolled this program out to 735 primary and 175 secondary schools across the nation,” Ms Taloga said.

“We want our children to develop financial competencies and the best way we have identified to implement this is in the classroom.”

Ms Taloga said there were no extra teaching hours or classes, no existing subjects replaced and no change in timetables — resulting in minimal disruption to normal classes.

She added that financial education at schools marked the first step in a three-phase program

 

Make £5 Grow- Enterprise Education in Schools

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 Virgin Money’s ‘Make £5 Grow’ scheme is now reaching schools across the country

  Participating schools have made a combined £10K in profit since scheme launch

 Almost 3,000 children have been involved so far

 

Virgin Money is reaching out to primary schools across the UK with the national roll-out of its successful Make £5 Grow scheme.

 

What is Make £5 Grow?

Make £5 Grow is a fun and engaging enterprise initiative designed to help draw out those important entrepreneurial skills in primary school pupils, combined with some basics of financial education.

The Make £5 Grow scheme is very simple. For those schools wishing to take part, Virgin Money will help make this possible by providing an interest-free loan of £5 for every participating pupil, up to a maximum of £250 per school, for 50 pupils. Pupils are then encouraged to form small teams and pool their money to create a small business and develop products or services they can sell.

They are encouraged to think carefully about their target audience, product costing, pricing and marketing. In the process, they develop their business skills and financial understanding. In addition, schools keep any profit made after the original loan has been paid back – a reward for pupils’ enterprise and hard work.

Already a success in the North East and North   West regions, Make £5 Grow is now expanding across the country through Virgin Money’s network of 75 Stores. Staff volunteers build relationships with schools in their local area and introduce the scheme, helping pupils set up mini-businesses to try to make a profit.

Teachers have found the programme to be flexible, having used it alongside the National Curriculum in core subjects including English and maths, Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHE), citizenship, design technology and art and design.

Case study

Year 5 and 6 pupils at Clent Parochial Primary School in Worcestershire made £386 in profit recently by taking part in the scheme.

Headteacher Christian Hamilton explained: “It was fantastic. One of our teachers heard about the scheme from another school that had already done it. We were looking at refreshing our curriculum to make it more relevant and provide more practical life skills, so this was the perfect programme to fit with that ambition.”

Mr Hamilton, who has been head at the 110-pupil rural school in North Worcestershire for two years, introduced Make £5 Grow to 31 pupils earlier this year – a mixed class made up of Years 5 and 6. It was so successful that he now plans on expanding the number of pupils taking part.

He added: “Being able to use and apply skills that are taught in class to real-life situations has helped the children develop in confidence and teamwork, demonstrate leadership skills and have fun.

“Parents loved it too. We’ve had some great comments.”

The profits have been invested in a class trip to WestMidlandSafari Park in Kidderminster, as well as the purchase and care of a new school guinea pig, and there are still some funds left over to invest in the expansion of the scheme.

Mr Hamilton said: “The focus on numeracy is particularly useful.”

What other schools have said about the scheme

Previous programme participants have set up thriving companies selling calendars, bags and cupcakes to name a few. Some of these businesses are still running and continue to make a profit for their school.

Ron Naylor, Headteacher at ForefieldJuniorSchool in Merseyside said: “Our pupils deserve to be prepared with the knowledge and skills to thrive and succeed in an ever more challenging world.

“The Make £5 Grow initiative inspires and engages our children in meaningful inventiveness, creativity and enterprise. It will not only enthuse our children but also provides stimulating learning in truly relevant contexts.”

India Parkinson, a pupil at Sacred Heart RC Primary School in Bolton added: “I felt it was not just a fun and exciting project but I felt it gave me a lot of confidence and was a great experience for my team.”

Ciaran Clare, also from Sacred Heart RC Primary School said: “I used planning and creative skills by debating what idea we should have and what we should create with our budget. Also we used real life situations by using the same skills we would use in a job or business.

“As well as planning we used lots of maths by working out what it would cost and what the profit could be. We made a lot of money for our school too.”

 

How to find out more

If you would like to know more about how to get involved in Make £5 Grow, please contact us on 0191 279 4676 or email press.office@virginmoney.com. And to see the project come to life, why not take a look at our award-winning video about the scheme at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=az-7p2AgVr4.