Since launching the Guernsey Investment & Funds Association school bank financial literacy initiative back in September 2022, a recent survey revealed that 72% of students, aged 7-11, now understand the value of money vs 50% when the survey was run before the project took place.
That’s a creditable 22% increase.
Over the past school year, through this hands-on initiative, children in years- 3-6 at Vale Primary School have had the opportunity to make their own financial decisions on whether they spend as they earn their school currency, ‘Vales’ or save these to purchase a higher cost item in the Vale School Shop. A pre- and post-initiative survey was undertaken to assess any improvement in students’ knowledge and to ultimately find out if the school bank was achieving what it set out to do – to help develop children’s financial literacy skills.
The survey revealed a 21% increase in students understanding the benefits of saving their money, from 68% to 89%. It also discovered 61% of students know that money saved in a bank can earn interest, an increase of 19% from 42%.
Gemma Ainger, who assisted the Guernsey Investment & Funds Association (GIFA) in project managing the implementation of the initiative, has a son at Vale Primary School. She said: ‘My son was successful in his application to become one of the first school bankers and this has helped him in not only understanding the responsibilities of having a ‘job’ but it’s taught him to think carefully about the money he does have, and not make a rushed decision on what to do with it. This ‘hands-on’ way of learning has enabled children to develop their knowledge and really put what they have learnt into practice.’
In school, pupils earn Class Dojo points for keeping to the school values, which are converted into ‘Vales’ by the class bankers and volunteers from GIFA supporting the children. The children then have the choice of either spending their Vales in the School Shop or saving them to spend on a costlier item and in so doing also earning interest. They also have the option to apply, be interviewed and appointed in the role of Shopkeeper or Bank Manager and earn an additional ‘Vales’ salary.
Shopkeepers have learned about setting up the shop, keeping a record of what is sold, dealing with their customers as well as ensuring the shop’s stock is up to date too. Bankers have learnt how to record the Vales earned and spent as well as the mental calculation of balances and interest on any savings and the importance of neat and accurate record keeping.
The survey found that a basic understanding of the key financial terms such as ‘account’, ‘deposit’ and ‘interest’ all increased. The term ‘withdrawal’ saw an understanding increase of 28%, from 30% to 58%, and the term ‘banking’ increased 19% from 52% to 71%.
Aztec Group, head of Guernsey Gordon Purvis, said: “Early financial literacy gives children the skills, knowledge, and tools they will need to make financial decisions for their entire lives. Supporting programs such as GIFA’s school bank initiative are core to our belief in the power of education.”
The proportion of children somewhat or very interested in saving money in a bank increased from 57% to 70%.
Gary Hind, Head Teacher of Vale Primary School said: “The children have enjoyed taking part in this exciting initiative, which has been both fun and informative. Often a hands-on approach can achieve better results and we’re grateful to GIFA for designing the scheme and volunteering a number of hours to assist the students and teachers in the in the running of the scheme. We hope the success here at Vale will pave the way for more schools to try this initiative.”
The scheme was piloted the last academic year at Vale Primary School and it is hoped the scheme can be implemented in other junior schools across the island.
Elisha Backhouse, chair of the GIFA Education Committee said: “Following feedback and learnings from this pilot initiative, we hope to implement the scheme in other junior schools across the island to equip Guernsey’s younger generation with the skills and understanding to improve the management of their own finances.”
The GIFA Education Committee was inspired by Kirton Primary School in the UK, which successfully launched a similar scheme a few years ago. The local initiative, designed to be incorporated into mathematics lessons, contributes to Guernsey’s Big Picture Curriculum. This aims to support children in the importance of earning money and making their own financial decisions on how that is either spent or saved.