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13 November 2014

Archbishop to launch money saving clubs in schools

Archbishop to launch money saving clubs in schools

The Church of England is proposing a network of savings clubs for primary schools to raise children's financial awareness. 

Pupils as young as four could have the opportunity to take part in the clubs as junior cashiers or bank managers to learn practically about the lessons taught in the classroom about money. 

The Archbishop of Canterbury's Task Group on Responsible Credit and Savings is putting forward the pilot scheme, where credit unions would encourage pupils to save small, regular amounts of money. 

Welcoming the plans, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said: "How we think about and use our money is central to a fulfilled and contented life. 

"That is why I strongly support this exciting initiative to encourage children to develop positive attitudes towards money and the habit of saving. 

"One in four primary and middle schools are Church of England schools, so this programme has the potential to make a significant difference to the lives of millions of children and future adults." 

Today, the Task Group is launching a new website to highlight this and other work being done to promote church-based initiatives in community finance and responsible lending. #ToYourCredit will also be used as a 'banner' for churches, dioceses and other organisations when talking about money and debt issues. 

The Evangelical Alliance is a supporter of the #ToYourCredit campaign. 

The proposed teaching material for the new scheme, beginning in Church of England schools, would cover areas such as understanding the role money plays in life, how to manage money, managing risks and the emotions associated with money. 

Similar, small-scale initiatives have already successfully taken place in UK schools, and this project builds on these financial education programmes. 

The Task Group is seeking funding from the government and other sources for a pilot scheme in three areas of England. 

Research by The Children's Society, released in a report today, argues children need financial education from an early age, as modern life promises increasingly complex financial futures. 

The report, Supporting young savers: the case for savings clubs in schools, says online shopping, phone contracts and tuition fees all require children and young people to start making financial choices at an early age. 

Financial habits are formed by the age of seven, according to this research, with evidence showing that children engage with the financial services sector from a young age. 

A survey last year showed that 64 per cent of children get their first bank or building society account and 63 per cent get their first mobile phone before they start secondary school. 

It adds that children have "high levels" of exposure to debt, with research showing that more than half of children aged 10 to 17 years old said they have seen advertising for loans "often" or "all of the time." 

The Archbishop of Canterbury's Task Group on Responsible Credit and Savings was launched at the start of this year, following Archbishop Justin's remarks in July 2013 about pay day lenders and the need to develop alternatives such as credit unions.