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Canny pupils can bank on cashing in

PUBLISHED: 09:40 04 February 2008 | UPDATED: 10:23 03 July 2010

BANKS are too often in the spotlight these days for closing branches, especially in rural communities.

But now one of the big High Street banks has reversed that unwelcome trend by opening a new style of branch - not in the town centre but inside a Norfolk junior school.

BANKS are too often in the spotlight these days for closing branches, especially in rural communities.

But now one of the big High Street banks has reversed that unwelcome trend by opening a new style of branch - not in the town centre but inside a Norfolk junior school.

The Nat West has entered into a pioneering partnership with Yarmouth's Edward Worlledge Middle School to open the county's first bank on school premises.

And the success of the branch - which has attracted more than 70 young savers in just its opening weeks - has prompted the Nat West to consider rolling the scheme out to other Norfolk schools.

Head teacher Dawn Kightley said: “We were delighted to take part. As well as encouraging young people to save it gives them experience they might choose to follow later as a career.”

She stressed that the bank - set up behind desks under a Nat West sign - was staffed entirely by pupils who completed all the necessary paperwork as young savers arrived with their paying in books and money to deposit.

Mrs Kightley said: “We advertised for cashiers and marketing executives among our year six children and had 30 applicants which we shortlisted to 12 for interview.”

The youngsters were interviewed by Mrs Kightley and school secretary Linda Dickeson and asked about everything from their maths skills and handwriting to ideas for promoting the bank.

Eight pupils were finally recruited and following training by Nat West schools' liaison worker Barbara Norris they began operating the bank for about half an hour every Tuesday morning wearing special T-shirts with the logo Stash your Cash..

Accounts with interest are offered and although youngsters can only pay in money at school, they can withdraw it at any Nat West branch - an account for the older pupils even comes with a cashcard.

“The money goes into the school safe and at the end of the day is deposited in the Nat West night safe,” said Mrs Kightley.

“In the first four weeks alone, more than £300 was paid in by the children so we hope this will be the start of their future savings,” she said.

Melissa Emblem, 11, who has given talks at parent evenings in her role as head of marketing, said: “It is a good way of encouraging saving. If you just keep your money at home it is too easy to spend it every week.”

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