The Commitment to Saving Award 2012 

Walthamstow School For Girls 
Nominated by: Hugh Marley 
Mybnk builds young people’s knowledge, skills and confidence to manage their money effectively and make enterprising choices throughout their lives. 
At Walthamstow School For Girls, a group of year 9 pupils run their own in-school, online, saving and lending bank. There, they develop a huge array of presentation and organisational skills. The group has helped two year groups (360 students) save and become more financially aware this year. This scheme was repeated with the intake of 180 new year 7 pupils meaning all those who pass through the school will be financially aware. 
Nominating Mybnk for this award, Hugh Marley said: “At a time when young people were being shown as untrustworthy and irresponsible, Mybnk trusted and invested in them and allowed them to shine.” The bank also holds half-day financial awareness programmes and 180 eleven-year-olds completed this in July 2012. 
The original aims of the project were to raise financial awareness amongst students and help them to cope with and manage the issues around saving and budgeting. The school also wanted to give its ‘bank managers’ the planning, organisational, presentation, ICT and leadership skills needed to run a bank. 
Training of staff and students began with one day sessions which were then ongoing throughout the year and repeated with each year group. The ‘loans’ element of the bank provided further training for students in evaluating business plans and issues around granting loans. GCSE enterprise students bid for loans to run their ‘company’. Training and support was then provided throughout the process including producing business plans and enhancing entrepreneurial skills. 
“Year 7 saved nearly £1,200 and many became fully aware of the benefits of saving. Some very shy students gained confidence in themselves and their abilities by rising to the weekly challenges relating to managing a bank, speaking publically and leading each other,” commented Hugh. 
The success of the project has helped to create a general ‘buzz’ around the school and a desire to save and find out more about personal finance and careers in this field. The school now has a bank which will impact on every single student over the coming years as they participate and help control the bank themselves as they progress through the school. It has helped to make the pupils understand that they have much to offer and made all those who have participated feel valued. 
Many schools across England are now seeking to follow the example shown by Walthamstow and are setting up their own similar schemes. There is also an international element with schools in Europe and beyond following their example. This has been helped by the appearance of the school on the Swedish version of the six o’clock news which highlighted the projects success. 
Hugh added: “Financial awareness has spread through our community, throughout our school and into the homes of our pupils. The idea of trusting and giving them a chance to shine no matter what their educational abilities or how the wider world stereotypes them has been something we are proud of. 
“Mybnkers will now have a slot in our open evening to highlight the benefits of these activities to around 800 potential new students and their families who will come to research our school as their potential future secondary school.” 
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