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Southlands High School in Chorley has become one of the first schools to achieve accreditation with the financial education programme DebtAware.

The school’s Head Teacher, Mr Mark Fowle, received a special plaque on Friday to mark the achievement.

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DebtAware is the peer-to-peer financial education programme set up by Debt Advice Foundation, the national debt advice and education charity based in Darwen, in partnership with Southlands High School, in which Year 10 secondary school pupils develop their own teaching materials, devise money management lessons and then teach them to Year 5 and 6 primary school children.

DebtAware accreditation involves meeting the criteria for a series of six standards, designed to embed commitment to financial education within the school at every level.

The school ensures that its senior leadership team – including Governors and senior staff – are on board, and that the programme is included in its school improvement plan.

It also has to be teaching successfully in an agreed number of primary schools, must take part in formal evaluation – which will go on to inform national financial education development – and act as an ambassador for DebtAware whenever possible.

DebtAware Education Manager Brian Souter, formerly deputy head teacher at Southlands and one of the founding fathers of the programme, said: “Money management is such a fundamental skill that we wanted to make sure that the importance of these lessons was appreciated throughout the schools taking part in the programme and embedded in their culture.

“Southlands High School has been involved for a long time, however other schools will be accredited soon, which shows just how enthusiastically schools are embracing the programme.”

Debt Advice Foundation chairman Dennis Benson added:

“I am full of admiration for the way that schools have been prepared to take on what is a very different approach to teaching financial education. The benefits for both the high school and primary pupils are much wider than the very important money skills they are learning – and hopefully all these lessons will stay with them for life.”

At present there are 3000 Primary School children receiving the lessons throughout Lancashire, they range from schools in Blackpool to the west and Burnley in the east of the county.

Debt Advice Foundation runs a telephone helpline for people struggling with unmanageable debt and offers advice on money management online and in the media in addition to its financial education work.

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If people are struggling with debt, they should contact a free, independent debt advice charity such as Debt Advice Foundation. Their helpline is 0800 043 40 50, or you can go to www.debtadvicefoundation.org

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