"When you look at the millions of people struggling with debt many of whom have never been taught about handling money you realise how important it is to give youngsters the basics early."
Brian Souter, DebtAware
The inaugural Money Skills for Life lesson for nine and ten year olds kicked off at the school on Frieston Road last week, marking a milestone for the charity, and chartered accountancy sponsor Langricks, whose vision is to give vital financial skills to schoolchildren.
DebtAware, which is part of the Debt Advice Foundation, has been running the highly successfully programme in Lancashire for over five years, working in 160 primary schools and helping 10,600 children find their financial feet. This is their first foray into Cheshire.
The scheme has been recognised by the National Lottery Community Fund which has recently donated £100,000 over the next five years to do more.
Recent statistics show that UK households had outstanding loans worth £37billion in 2016-17 – a value growing four times faster than wages.
According to DebtAware Education Manager Brian Souter, primary school is the best place for spending behaviours to be shaped.
He said: “When you look at the millions of people struggling with debt – many of whom have never been taught about handling money – you realise how important it is to give youngsters the basics as early as possible.
“At DebtAware, we believe that good money habits can be instilled from as young as nine or ten years old – positively shaping spending attitudes for a lifetime.”
Chartered Accountant and Director at Langricks, Chris Langrick, commented: ““If we can help future generations to be smarter with money and help in some way to reducing poverty, then we will have made good progress.”
Head teacher at Park Road Academy Primary school Kerry Hart said that her Year 6 class found the lessons enjoyable and valuable. “DebtAware has thought carefully about what motivates children and made it fun, relevant and easy to understand. Words like balanced budget, surplus and deficit are spoken about, the children get what they mean and are applying what they learn.”
Focus groups involving 100+ children have given hugely positive feedback with kids talking about changed attitudes towards money, with the focus on saving cash and a better understanding of what things cost. Almost all said they had discussed the lessons with their wider families, wanting to know more about pet insurance and child trust funds!
The DebtAware team provides six main modules for primary schools which are taught in years five and six and appoints pupils as Money Mentors – over 1000 to date - to develop reminder lessons in between.
“This is the real beauty of the programme,” continued Kerry. “Pupils teaching other pupils. It has delivered great results for the class and for the individuals involved.”
Brian Souter again: “Park Road Academy is a great example of how money skills learning can be used and embraced. We are delighted to be in Cheshire for the first time and are looking forward to continuing to work with Langricks to make a difference and equip a new generation with what we think are key life skills.”