YOUNG people cashed in on My Money Week — by spending, selling and investing Heathfields Primary School in Daubhill celebrated the week by organising activities to help children not only manage their cash, both now and in the future, but to think about the moral and ethical issues surrounding money.
My Money Week is run by national charity Personal Finance Group and Barclays.
Now in its fifth year, it is held to help children learn more about money and personal finance and improve their financial skills and knowledge through special lessons, activities and debates through a package of free resources.
Money “lessons” included learning everything from the history of money, making money, the FTSE, Fair Trade, fair taxation, essential and luxury goods to the financial crisis crippling the country.
Year six teacher Nicola Wiggans said the activities were designed to make children think about wider issues.
Activities including giving children £1 million to spend on whatever they wanted to dividing up 30p between the different people involved in getting bananas from the producer to the supermarket.
Children also had a chance to become financiers and “invest” in the stock market, making decisions as to whether to sell or invest depending on the share price.
Pupils also become entrepreneurs and had to calculate the costs, including ingredients, in setting up their own sandwich shop.
They were also forced to consider the difference between what they wanted and what they actually needed.
Huzaifa Anwar, aged 11, said: “I bought lots of houses so people could rent them and make me money more.
“In the next activity I was the farmer producing the bananas, but I got the least money, I was shocked.
“So I think people who make money like this have a responsibility to other people and treat them fairly.”
Fleur Carter, aged 11, added: “I bought a hotel because I want to live in one and bought cars.
“I spent my money and did not think about what would happen when it ran out.
“I think I will save and invest more.”
The two said that they would now be buying Fair Trade products after realising that the people were not getting the money they deserved.
Huzaifa said: “I was very sad and shocked when I heard about the workers not getting much money.
“People who make lots of money should think about other people.”
Fleur added: “I do think we can make a difference by changing how we spend our money.
“There is a responsibility that comes with making money. I will buy Fair Trade products now, that can make a difference.”
Miss Wiggans said she was impressed with the level of debate among the young people during the week.
As a result a Fair Trade stall was included in the summer fair.
She said: “Children’s learning has to have a purpose and has to have an impact. At Heathfields we learn together, learn for life. Children can have an impact on the community and their parents.
“It is about giving children all the information they need to make informed choices. The children had to think critically and evaluate, challenge and debate.
“For example about whether taxes should be linked to wages.”
Bolton South East MP Yasmin Qureshi visited the school at the end of the week to see how financially savvy the youngsters had become.
She said: “It’s important for young people to have financial skills these days and to learn about financial responsibility. That’s why projects like My Money Week are so good. The children get hands-on, interactive opportunities to learn and have fun while developing their skills. I was really impressed with the different activities the children were doing. One of the key themes was how to stick to a fixed budget. In one activity they had to pick items from a catalogue to furnish and decorate a room with £1,450. The children learned how to spend their money wisely based on their priorities which is the sort of skill that will serve them well throughout their lives.
“I’m really keen to support the next generation of entrepreneurs because they are vital to the success of the economy. I hope learning more about money will inspire some of the children to run their own businesses in Bolton in the future.
“Starting to understand finance and the value of money at an early age is central to this.
“I hope that My Money Week will continue to grow and that even more schools take part in it next year.”