A NETWORK of primary-school savings clubs to teach children how
to manage money has been proposed by the Archbishop of Canterbury's
Task Group on Responsible Credit and Savings.
The task group expects to carry out trials in Church of England
primaries in three areas of the country, using financial backing
from the Government and other sources. After a successful pilot,
the scheme would be extended across the country.
Savings clubs would be backed by school-based credit unions,
which parents, staff, and pupils would be allowed to join. Children
would be helped to run their clubs as junior cashiers or bank
managers. Parents would be offered the chance to save for school
trips or family expenses through dedicated accounts.
The former chief executive of the Financial Services Authority,
Sir Hector Sants, who led the group, said that the programme was
part of a broader C of E initiative to support a larger, more
sustainable community-finance sector: "Savings clubs can help to
establish a responsible approach to money from an early age," he
The proposals are a response to an earlier Children's Society
report detailing research evidence that children have a high level
of exposure to debt, and engage with the financial sector at an
increasingly young age. About two-thirds of children had a bank or
building-society account and a mobile phone before they started
secondary school, the report said. The society's chief executive,
Matthew Reed, said: "Children are regularly bombarded by
irresponsible advertising, and need a decent financial
The Archbishop of Canterbury, who endorsed the scheme, said that
it had "the potential to make a significant difference to the lives
of millions of children and potential adults".
The scheme has been widely welcomed outside church circles. The
MP for Worcester, Robin Walker, who chairs the All Party
Parliamentary Group on Credit Unions, quoted research that showed
that two-thirds of children aged ten to 17 regularly saw
advertisements for payday loans, and one third of them admitted
finding them "tempting". "It cannot be right that children learn
about payday loans from advertisements. I warmly welcome the C of E
initiative," Mr Walker said.
Since the proposals were announced, it has emerged that savings
clubs are already in place at several schools around the country.
In south London, a successful savings club at Holy Trinity Primary
School, Tulse Hill, linked to a credit union associated with Holy
Trinity's community-outreach scheme, has been running for seven
years, and has been extended to two local-authority schools.
A statement in support of the task group from the Bishop of
Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, and the Bishop of Jarrow, the Rt
Revd Mark Bryant, said that similar initiatives were under way in