The Mail on Sunday

Student fees? I’d much rather have a platypus First Child Trust Fund generation learn the value of pocket money

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ADUCK-BILLED platypus, private jet, pet monkey, castle made of Lego, adventure park and charity for the poor. These are just a few of the items to top the shopping lists of six and seven-year-olds who were asked how they would spend the money saved up in their Child Trust Fund.

While some of their spending priorities may be a little odd, at least they are giving the matter thought. And that is thanks largely to St Aidan’s & St John Fisher Associated Sixth Form in Harrogate, North Yorkshire.

Six St Aidan’s sixth-formers recently visited nearby Oatlands Infant School to give personal finance lessons they had devised for Year Two children. The exercise was part of a voluntary nine-week foundation course in Financial Services & Money Management sponsored by insurer Engage Mutual Assurance.

Student ‘teacher’ Daniel Chetcuti, 18, says: ‘We hear about finance such as mortgages and investment­s, but we are not taught at school how they actually work. We wanted to share a bit of our new-found knowledge with the children – the first generation growing up with Child Trust Funds – so that they are not left in the dark.’

The students devised interactiv­e lessons so children first shared pocket money details and ideas on the value of the purchasing power of money. They then moved on to the concept of saving.

The primary school youngsters are among the first to get £250 Child Trust Funds vouchers as part of the Government-backed scheme to promote saving.

Those eligible get a further £250 voucher or direct payment into their fund in a bank or building society account when they reach seven. They cannot get their hands on proceeds from the fund until they are 18.

Fellow ‘teacher’ Fiona Robinson, 17, says: ‘I was naive before taking this foundation course and muddled about future financial issues, including how I would pay for university. Learning of a need to plan and save has been really valuable. I will now work part time to fund my future studies. ‘We wanted to give lessons in a fun interactiv­e way to get the Year Two pupils involved. Just telling them about money would have been boring.’ Lucy McCabe, 6, was told that the CTF might help to fund her own university studies in the future, but she has far more urgent plans. ‘I would like to buy a platypus – I might also need a pool for it to swim in,’ she says.

Isabelle McIntyre, 7, receives 50p a week pocket money and puts it aside for birthday gifts. ‘I’d like to buy a dog with the money, or perhaps it would be better off going to charity,’ she says. As part of the lesson the children were also asked to put a value on items. Among the questions was: ‘Which of these costs more – a trip to the moon or a luxury holiday at a fivestar hotel?’ Joseph BurkhillHo­warth, 6, says: ‘The cost of building a space rocket must be quite high, so I would opt for that.’

Joshua Whiers, also 6, found valuations tricky, putting a £1,000 price tag on the value of an iPhone, but he had a shrewd idea about the source of cash. ‘Money comes from the family and they have to work for it,’ he says. ‘I spend my 50p a week pocket money on Lego and with £500 I would just buy lots more.’

The children had heard of banks but were not sure what they got up to – preferring to trust any savings to be inside a piggy bank, or somewhere safe ‘with a lock and key’.

 ??  ?? PET PROJECT: Daniel Chetcuti with Lucy McCabe, on his left, and her fellow pupils
PET PROJECT: Daniel Chetcuti with Lucy McCabe, on his left, and her fellow pupils
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