The Headmaster’s Story

Our blog story today comes from an unlikely magazine.

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Yes, it is the National Savings News Letter for July 1965

One article in it was by Mr Pickering who was headmaster of Market Lavington School.

Mr. F. Pickering, headmaster of Market Lavington Primary School, Devizes, Wiltshire, decided that the school bank system best suited the aims he had in mind for his pupils. In The Headmaster’s Story he gives an analysis of these aims and of the method of running .the bank. His clear, factual account could be a valuable blueprint for any headteacher thinking of setting up savings facilities of this kind, as it emphasises equally the bank method’s simplicity and educational worth.

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AIMS

To foster the habit of regular saving through appeal to children’s imagination and interest.
To obtain the maximum educational effect from the system.
To make the saving as permanent as possible.

METHOD

The bank is a regular Wednesday institution, opening at 8.45 a.m. and closing at 9 a.m. It is specially set up and takes the form of a bank counter, with cashiers using deposit and withdrawal forms. The children are found to enjoy this situation and imagine themselves as adults.

The school has a House system, with three Houses, St. George, St. Andrew and St. Patrick. Each House has its own cashier, its own cashbox, pens and forms. This again is an incentive to help to win the savings flag, which is presented weekly to the House that gains most points (amount multiplied by subscribers).

The savings books, brought in on Wednesday, are returned on the following Tuesday by the cashiers, thereby creating a memory factor for the next day’s savings.

The children become used to a bank routine of cashier, deposits and withdrawals and have to fill in their own form to hand over the counter. The smaller children are helped by the older ones and so get first-hand knowledge of the system, which, after six years of routine, becomes second-nature.

The hours of opening, before school commences, bring the children to school eager to participate in the scheme, arriving well before the official time of commencement. They have the motivation for coming to school even more willingly than usual.

It also makes a minimum of interference to normal timetabling.

The cashiers obtain the maximum benefit from the system, having to balance their registers correctly, before handing it to the headmaster.

Assistant cashiers sometimes take over and they, too, are taught the methods of cross-checking.

The subscribers’ books are brought up to date and checked and any withdrawals are requisitioned.

The practical application is most beneficial. They get a real sense of responsibility, actually handling the register, money and books.

The subscribers all have personal savings books with name and house clearly shown. New entrants to the school are given letters for parents to return, if they wish to join the bank. The children bring any amount from 3d. upwards. As soon as they get £1, a form is sent to the parent, asking whether they wish to change this £1 for a Certificate, or transfer to the Trustee Savings Bank.

Very few requests are made for cash – less than 2% over the past three years. This makes a very satisfactory background for permanent savings and no possible chance of loss, as with loose stamps.

Any books mislaid can be duplicated without any difficulty. The weekly amounts are handed to the local Trustee Savings Bank and adjustments made.

Interest from this account is transferred, by general consent, into the school fund.

ORGANIZATION

The apparatus for setting up the bank consists, primarily, in the structure for the board holding the name. This was printed and mounted on a wooden plank. It is supported by two uprights, drilled to take two bolts for the name-board and two more bolts to fix them to the desk legs which also had to be drilled.

Two desks, old-fashioned type, put end-to-end form an adequate length, with another desk at right-angles, for subscribers to use.

Each cashier has a cash box of the House colour, a register, two ball-point pens, also of House colour, one for the cashier and one for the subscriber, and a quantity of deposit and withdrawal forms.

CASHIER’S DUTIES

To receive the cash and forms from members and check that they balance.
To help younger members to fill in their forms.
On closing the bank, to transfer the amounts paid in to the register, total and check.
To complete the running total for each child.
To balance the totals in the columns and enter them in pencil.
To add the balance column as a check.
To bring the register and cash for verification.
To fill in the individual books, making out forms for children who have saved £I.
To put the weekly total in the House Competition Book.
To report the savings complete.
On the following Tuesday, to hand back the subscription books to members.

TEACHER’S DUTIES (Weekly)

To supervise the setting-up of the bank and to be generally responsible during the time of business.
To check the register and take the cash.
To obtain Certificates (subscriber’s number required), or transfer to Trustee Savings Bank (subscriber’s savings book required).
To check the Savings Competition Book.
To present the trophy to the clerk of the winning House.
To check the members’ books each term.
To make the annual return to the District Commissioner.

GENERAL COMMENTS

It is found that there is no complication of wasted lesson time in the classes, except when the books are returned to members on Tuesdays. This takes but a minute.

Over 60% of the school population are members of the bank, with very little persuasion or advertisement.

The House competition provides the greatest spur to regular saving.

The letter which is sent to parents of new pupils and, from time to time, to those whose children are not yet taking part in this particular school activity, is a friendly reminder that school is not a place apart and that teachers share with them an interest in their children’s welfare.

Dear Parent,

You will be watching with close interest, I am sure, your child’s progress in all the various activities of our school life. Lessons are being learned and habits being formed, both inside and outside the classroom; all helping to develop character and to broaden the outlook.

Among the lessons that can have most far reaching results is the personal practice of ‘thrift’ and all that this implies; self-discipline, self-restraint and self-respect.

The constant and regular practice of saving – the regularity is more important than the actual amount saved – will give your child a sound attitude to the use of money, however little he or she may actually handle, and this training will be a valuable asset in later life.

This is why we have a National Savings Group in our school and I am most anxious that all our pupils should, if possible, become members. If your child is not already a member and you would like him/her to join, would you kindly sign the slip below and return it to me.

Yours sincerely,

Head Teacher.

To the Head Teacher:

Please enrol my son/daughter . as a member of the School Savings Group. I will do my best to ensure that he/she will save regularly.

Signed .

Parent/Guardian.

We wonder if any ex- pupils have tales of the bank or maybe the youngsters of 1965 in the photos could be identified.

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