A WREXHAM primary school has forged a unique partnership with a North Walian credit union.

St Mary’s Catholic Primary School launched a scheme in collaboration with Cambrian Credit Union and are the first active school running such a saving scheme in Wrexham area.

The main aim of the project was to improve children’s awareness of need to be financially aware and to learn about the benefits of saving on a regular basis.

The saving scheme was launched in January, initially for Year 6 pupils, but after its initial success, the saving scheme was rolled out to years four in March and year three in April.

It will now be opened up to Foundation Phase pupils, starting with year 2 in June.

The scheme has seen about 100 savers already enjoying the benefits and the experience. Even members of the teaching staff, teaching assistants and even the caretaker have joined the scheme and are busy saving for summer holidays and Christmas presents.

Parents who wanted their child to start saving brought an application sheet with proof of address and some form of identity (passport /driving licence) into school on the launch day.

Deposits of savings are taken every fortnight. Governors, volunteers and Year 6 pupils take the payments, count the money, record in the pupils’ payments books and the bank ledgers which are then forwarded to the credit union.

There are two main withdrawal times during the year. One before Christmas and one before just the end of the summer term. However, parents are free to withdraw money at any time at the credit union bank on King Street.

Withdrawals can be in the form of cash or a BACS transfer to another account. At the end of the year, year six pupils leaving St Mary’s can chose to continue their account independently of the school or they can withdraw all money and close the account.

Rachel Acton, headteacher, said: "We have linked closely with Zoe Greenslade, a representative from the Cambrian Credit Union, who has been constantly on hand to guide the school through the start- up process, to liaise with parents and to sign up new members.

"We have also been extremely grateful for the constant help and supervision from parish volunteer, Mr David Davies and governor, Mr Keith McDonagh, who are always on hand to ensure the paying in sessions run smoothly.

"It has been fantastic opportunity for our pupils to develop sound financial literacy and financial management skills as well as crucial life skills from such an early age."