The Oak Bank: bringing banking back to school

When we were asked by Worcesters Primary School to help them develop their own bank, I was delighted. As one of RedSTART’s volunteers, it’s fantastic to be able to support Worcesters (one of our case study schools) with a project that aims to encourage pupils to practise earning, saving and spending within a school environment.

The creative idea came from the school, who are passionate about financial education and who wanted to build on the work that they and RedSTART had undertaken. The task was to create an interactive, self-contained micro-economy for the primary school which supports c. 540 children. To do this, we converted three storage sheds to create:

    • The Bank – where students invest their money;
    • The Shop – where students can purchase items with the money they have saved; and
    • The Showroom – where new products like books and stationary are displayed, encouraging students to plan their saving ready to purchase in the future.

Along with the sheds, the school has also established a pretend currency system whereby pupils will receive “acorns” for a range of things such as good behaviour and contributing in lessons. This currency can then be ‘banked’ in a choice of two accounts:

  1. A current account with instant access, but no interest paid; or
  2. A savings account which earns interest but has limitations on when funds can be withdrawn.

The Oak Bank is designed to build upon the key lessons taught as part of RedSTART’s ‘Money Matters’ sessions such as goal setting, budgeting and compound interest. These sessions are delivered directly by teachers at Worcesters School.

So, what did we do in practice?

After consultation, design and support from the school’s site management team, 9 volunteers, including Redington’s CEO, set about creating RedSTART’s first physical example of how ‘banking’ and ‘saving’ can be put into practice by primary school children: The Oak Bank.

Not your average Redington day ‘in the office’:

Redington volunteers: Kevser, Amrit, Natalie, Piravin, Michaela, Holly and Jay

What’s next?

The Oak Bank will be staffed by pupils and decisions on how it develops will be made in consultation with the student council, with shop items being donated by Redington, AXA Investment Managers and Mash Virtual.

To coincide with the The Oak Bank’s opening, RedSTART volunteers at Redington have also developed an app, which will enable the school to manage the bank accounts and calculate any interest earned. By combining this digital technology with the physical bank, it is hoped that financial education can be brought to life in a new and innovative way.

We hope the students have as much fun as we did!

 Redington volunteers: Natalie, Piravin, Holly, Emily, Michaela and Kevser

The Oak Bank in action:

Written by Michaela, Head of Impact Assessment