Vodafone today announced it is providing free access to a top-quality virtual tutoring service to support students as they prepare for important in-school assessments that will replace exams this year. Through its partnership with leading online education provider SchoolOnline.co.uk.. Vodafone customers are being offered a free two-week trial of all educational resources available on the platform, followed by 50% discount for either monthly or annual membership packages. The offer is available via Vodafone’s loyalty programme VeryMe from 1 to 16 April.


SchoolsOnline.co.uk offers award winning English and Maths resources designed to identify and address learning gaps and help students feel prepared and confident ahead of assessments or exams. The content is delivered by enthusiastic experts – all of whom are either experienced teachers or examiners – in short videos lasting between three and seven minutes per topic. There are also interactive quizzes and films to support every type of learner. The resources have been specially designed for children in years 5 and 6 (ahead of Key Stage 2 SATs) and years 9-11 (ahead of GCSEs).  SchoolsOnline.co.uk data suggests that daily use can improve GCSE maths grade by 35% in just 6 weeks[1].


Keeping children connected to education during the pandemic has been a priority for Vodafone. Its schools.connected programme launched in November, giving 350,000 data SIMs to more than 9,000 schools and further education colleges across the UK. Vodafone also joined the Department of Education’s Get Help with Technology programme to increase data allowances for disadvantaged children. It has also zero rated Oak National Academy’s online lessons so that customers can access the site without using up data allowances.


In March, Vodafone announced it had donated 10,000 dongle devices to Business2Schools to distribute to schools across the UK and made a £200,000 donation to the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s Learn at Home campaign.


Customers can redeem this offer via Vodafone’s VeryMe Rewards in the My Vodafone app. The SchoolOnline.co.uk offer is available from 1 April 2021 to the 16 April 2021.


[1] Figures based on a Summer 2020 trial by SchoolsOnline.co.uk. For further information see here.


Digital resources will help parents boost kids’ activity during the school break


Families across the UK are being encouraged to access a popular digital programme this Easter – to find tips and ideas to keep kids active during the school holidays.


Created by Nike and Discovery Education—the leader in curriculum-aligned digital resources, engaging content, and professional learning for classrooms worldwide—Active Kids Do Better provides fun activities to keep kids busy and moving throughout the day, whether in school or at home. Freely available at www.activekidsdobetter.co.uk, the resources include short-burst exercises, ideas for mini-workouts and fun family games. 


Launched by Olympic sprinter Daryll Neita in 2018, Active Kids Do Better has already helped thousands of UK primary school children to stay active. As the school Easter holidays approach, and with many restrictions still in place, it’s hoped that the programme will be used by parents as an easy way to inject fun movement into every day. 


Today in the UK, less than a quarter of children get the physical exercise they need – and the pandemic has had a huge impact on kids’ activity levels. Sport England’s Active Lives – Children and Young People surveyshowed that last year only 45% of kids averaged an hour of physical activity each day, with over a third saying that not being in school made them less active. 


Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the survey also found that many parents are actually spending more time being active with their children than before lockdown. As parents look for new ways to keep children moving and entertained, Active Kids Do Better offers plenty of ideas to help families have fun together while boosting kids’ physical and mental wellbeing. 


Howard Lewis, UK Managing Director at Discovery Education said:


“Discovery Education is delighted to be working with Nike to make our Active Kids Do Better resources available to parents across the UK . As the pandemic continues to impact children’s usual activities, these engaging exercises will help parents to introduce fun movement and play into every day. Active kids are healthier, happier and show stronger academic performance. Active Kids Do Better makes it easier than ever for families to stay active at this challenging time.” 


Active Kids Do Better’s fun activities and resources are linked to the National Curriculum, meaning that parents can also combine movement with learning during the Easter holidays. 


Some of the activities include:

  • Spell Check – a hopscotch-style outdoor game which teaches spelling
  • Clock Lunges – an indoor activity to help kids learn to tell the time
  • Compass Jumps – a fun indoor movement that helps kids understand direction


Parents can also discover fun activities which are perfect for getting the whole family moving together, indoors and outdoors, at any time. From learning how to recreate sports like tennis or ping pong with everyday household items, to calming family yoga sessions, the Active Kids Do Better website has something for everyone.  


Parents and families are encouraged to get started at www.activekidsdobetter.co.uk An Active Kids Parent Pack is also available to download from the website. 


Find out more about Nike’s commitment to getting kids moving and providing opportunities for equal playing fields for all at purpose.nike.com


Active Kids Do Better is nominated for a prestigious 2021 Bett Award in the Free Digital Content category. 



CONSTRUCTION has started to create a number of new classroom blocks at three secondary schools across Essex – adding 750 much-needed school places for pupils in the county.

The modular units will be installed at Clacton County High School, in Clacton-on-Sea; The Colne Community School and College, in Brightlingsea; and Sweyne Park School, in Rayleigh, as part of the Essex County Council-led scheme.

The designs for all three schools have been tailored to be as flexible and efficient as possible to maximise the benefits of a modular solution, while simultaneously meeting both the client’s educational needs and environmental requirements.

Leading independent property, construction and infrastructure consultancy Pick Everard has been appointed to deliver architecture, civil, structural and MEP engineering, and principal design services.

Keith Prendergast, director at Pick Everard, said: “We are really pleased to be working with Essex County Council to improve the school facilities and increase the number of pupil places in the county. These three projects are the latest to be delivered by Pick Everard for this client, continuing a longstanding relationship with the council.

“We have worked closely with the client and had close collaboration with a modular supplier to ensure the brief was achieved and the design was conducive with an offsite modular solution. This will provide the high-quality education facilities the next generation of students deserve.

“The implementation of modular for these projects has also allowed the overall programme time to be greatly reduced, meaning that schools will be able to make the most of their new classrooms much sooner than if the traditional construction route were taken. We look forward to seeing all three schools open their new modular buildings, and to seeing students enjoying and making the most of their new environments.”

Construction at the three sites is expected to complete later this year. 

Property, construction and infrastructure consultancy Perfect Circle – a company jointly owned by Pick Everard, Gleeds and AECOM – was appointed by Essex County Council to deliver project management and quantity surveying services, which have been procured via SCAPE Consultancy, a direct award framework that drives collaboration, efficiency, time, and cost savings.

Tom Wint, quantity surveying associate at Pick Everard, said: “Modular builds are a new breed of structure that offer modern facilities and a greater level of flexibility and innovation. However, completing them for schools is still a relatively new concept. As a result, strong collaboration between all partners is required to ensure a successful delivery programme that is completed on time.

“When compared to traditional on-site methods, Essex County Council has reduced the overall project time by six months by opting for modular builds, which are a great way to save time and money on a scheme due to providing an efficient solution – allowing Sweyne Park School to open its new building at the start of the new academic year in September 2021.”

A spokesperson for Essex County Council, said: “It’s really important for us that all pupils in Essex receive the best possible education and that there is enough capacity within the county’s schools for every single child. We’re pleased to be working with Pick Everard on a series of projects to provide high quality learning environments and meet the increased demand for school places.

“Taking a modular approach to these schools will mean that we can provide these all-important spaces and additional pupil places quicker than using traditional construction methods. It is so important to minimise any disruption to the operation of the school – especially now schools have welcomed back all students.”

For more information, please visit https://www.pickeverard.co.uk/

Britannica teams up with TrilbyTV to bring ‘World Facts’ to schools digital signage

Digital signage software company TrilbyTV has announced an exciting new partnership with Britannica Digital Learning! This means that schools can now access World Facts, which shows a country, capital, population and one of five country-specific facts every day. It’s great to expand students’ understanding of the world and for using as starter topics in geography. 


Britannica Head of UK Sales, Emma Lamb, had this to say on the partnership,

“Britannica Digital are excited to be working with TrilbyTV.

I first discovered TrilbyTV when I was sitting in a school reception, waiting for a presentation with the Head. Usually, there is a screen in reception that is either turned off and gathering dust or occasionally the news may be on.

In this case, I was pleasantly surprised that I was entertained by what the school was up to, sports days, interviews, blogs, award days, announcements, and in between all this, the screen intermittently showcased publishers’ content.

I made a mental note to get in touch with TrilbyTV as I very much wanted to see if we could get involved and appear on the 1000’s of screens in schools across the UK and EMEA.”

TrilbyTV Director Neil Emery added,


“I’m so excited to be partnering with Britannica for our latest content catalogue offering. Growing up as a young person, my Mum and Dad had a full set of encyclopedias that I found so interesting and often used to support my homework. I have no doubt our World Facts content will provide the exact same inspiration for pupils I gained all those years ago”.


Britannica’s “World Facts” can be added to digital signage screens via TrilbyTV’s Content Catalogue which works as if you had added the content yourself. You can add or remove slides, edit times and dates, and add your information to the mix.


Britannica’s ‘World Facts’ is a fantastic way to get students thinking about Geography. You can use the facts to inspire pupils to think about the World around them. The ‘World Facts’ work well on any screen, but if you have a digital display in your Geography or Humanities department, it would be an excellent content item to share there.



TrilbyTV created in 2015, is the number one digital signage platform made for education. Founders Ben Stanley & Neil Emery were technology trainers, who were fed up of walking into reception areas and seeing TV screens switched off. After investigating further and plugging in a cable or two, they’d usually find the Christmas play pictures from five years ago. When looking into why the screens were switched off initially, there seemed to be a pattern; the software was too hard to use and had to be constantly micromanaged by the IT department. This is why they created TrilbyTV, the easy to use digital signage software that gives users ownership and control of their own content. 

The platform offers a full range of content options for digital signage including video, slideshows, Twitter feeds and web content. It also contains a content catalogue, full of education-focused ready to use content from well known and trusted organisations.

More About TrilbyTV – https://www.trilbytv.co.uk/ 

Why literacy skills can help mitigate the impact of the pandemic

There’s an urgent need to support children in literacy so their life chances are not affected by Covid-19, says Andrea Welter, assistant head teacher from Pheasey Park Primary School and Early Years Centre.

The pandemic is creating new inequalities among the youngest in our society. A survey from the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) suggests the gap between disadvantaged children and those from more affluent households has increased by 46%.

With schools having to close to most pupils once again this spring, the task of plugging these gaps will be all the more challenging.

Inequality of opportunity

The extent of the damage is widespread because not only has Covid disrupted face-to-face teaching and learning, it has also deepened the economic divide.

Many families’ circumstances have become more difficult and parents may be less able to support their child’s learning while dealing with financial pressures or health worries.

There is a growing digital divide too. While government, schools and charitable organisations are finding ways to put laptops in the hands of learners, some children still don’t have the devices or connectivity they need to access online learning and build their digital skills along with their English and maths.

Redressing the balance

We cannot turn back the clock and make up for all the face-to-face teaching a child has missed, but what we can do is give that child the building blocks to support their future learning.

One of these is reading which is a skill for learning and for life. If a child doesn’t have a strong foundation in literacy they will find it harder to access other subjects, which could hold them back right through their schooling.

As well as being able to read aloud, children need to be able to read in their head, develop a wide vocabulary and decode the meaning of what they see on the page. When a child can do this, they open doors to a whole world of learning.

Hidden reading difficulties

The challenge for schools is that issues with reading can be difficult to spot. It’s sometimes hard to tell if a child has problems with silent reading, or lets their minds wander away from the page.

To see beneath the surface of reading ability we use software which follows a child’s eye movements as they read. The technology measures how long a child’s eyes rest on one word and how quickly their eyes move forwards and backwards across a series of words.

This tool helps us see which children are at risk of specific reading difficulties such as dyslexia so we can get the right support in place quickly.

Assessment without pressure

In a year when children have been through so much, schools are very mindful of pupil wellbeing, and the need to help children ease back into the school routine. However, it is still important to set a baseline to see where pupils are in their learning.

The best way to assess children without raising anxiety levels is to take a low-stress approach, such as an on-screen activity or digital quiz. These can be more accessible and enjoyable than a traditional pen and paper task.

Making tests a positive experience can go a long way towards building confidence as well as aptitude. Some of the screening technology we use is so much fun, pupils want to take the test all over again.

Another advantage of technology-based assessment is that teachers generally find it quicker to access digital results than to work through heaps of paper tests. Reducing workload and saving time is good for teachers’ wellbeing too.

The impact of the pandemic on children’s education has been far-reaching, but by tackling the literacy gap, schools can accelerate pupils’ recovery in all areas of their learning.


Andrea Welter is an assistant head teacher from Pheasey Park Farm Primary School and Early Years Centre in Walsall, West Midlands which is part of the Elston Hall Multi Academy Trust. Andrea is currently working across two of the trust schools which use Lexplore Analytics, an eye tracking tool which quickly assesses reading attainment. You can find out more at: https://www.lexplore.com/gb/




Premier League launches Wellbeing Stars challenge, encouraging schoolchildren to carry out acts of kindness

The Premier League has today launched the Wellbeing Stars challenge, which encourages primary school-aged children across England and Wales to come up with and carry out five acts of kindness in a single week. 


The challenge tasks five to 11-year-olds with creating a ‘Wellbeing Week’ plan of activity that will help boost the mood of their family, or people they know in their school or community. It will also inspire classroom discussion on feelings and emotions.


Wellbeing Stars is the latest initiative from the Premier League Primary Stars education programme, which uses children’s passion for football to engage them in learning. The programme is supported by 110 professional football clubs in their communities, as well as via free online resources.


Teachers and families can download a free Wellbeing Stars resource pack, which includes a ‘Wellbeing Week’ worksheet where children can write down each of their acts of kindness and reflect on how they have made others feel. Teachers, parents and guardians are then encouraged to submit children’s completed worksheets by Monday 19 April to Premier League Primary Stars.


Clinical psychologist, Dr Hazel Harrison, who has assisted with the creation of the Premier League Wellbeing Stars activity, said: 


“All of us, but particularly children, need to connect – and re-connect – with our peers and wider community right now. Encouraging children to help others is a great way to do this. Making meaningful connections with others is known to trigger physiological changes that make us feel happier, braver and closer to one another. 


“I’d encourage schools and families to get involved in Premier League Wellbeing Stars. It’s initiatives like this that can ease the return to school and build up children’s wellbeing and focus on their strengths. Not only that, but we know that young people who take part in social action projects feel a stronger sense of belonging to their communities. ”


A selection of the weekly plans will be used to create a Premier League Wellbeing Stars calendar, which will be sent to participating schools and will also be made available for families to download. Three children who take part will also be recognised for their efforts with the Premier League Trophy visiting their school. 


Premier League Head of Community Nick Perchard said: “Social action has been an important part of the nation’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic and is a key theme for all Premier League community activity. Premier League Wellbeing Stars will enable children to have a better understanding of how their acts of kindness can have a positive impact on others and will also give them the opportunity to learn from their peers’ projects.”


Children can also take inspiration from the acts of kindness of Premier League players who have helped their communities throughout the national lockdown. Videos within the Wellbeing Stars resource will feature Tottenham Hotspur’s Ben Davies who has supported his elderly neighbour, as well as Brighton & Hove Albion’s Neal Maupay who has made sure he checks in with family, friends and neighbours.


Are you ready for the academies budget forecast return?



It’s that time of year when minds in the Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) sector usually turn to the annual Budget Forecast Return Outturn (BFRO).


BFRO is typically used by the Department for Education (DfE) to review the in-year position and expected outturn of the sector to ensure this financial data can be accurately reported to the Treasury in May. However, for the second academic year running, there have been some changes to the process which Trusts must respond to.


This year, instead of the standalone BFRO form, the DfE has combined the BFRO and BFR3Y into a single online form which will also require the Trust’s three-year forecast. This form goes live on 22nd June, with a submission deadline of 27th July.


It should be noted that all academy trusts must compile longer-term forecasts for their own internal financial planning as required in the Academies Financial Handbook (section 2.11).


Here are my four top tips for MAT Chief Financial Officers and School Business Managers preparing for the academies budget forecast return, and getting ahead of the game with their financial forecasting.


  1. Always keep your forecasting up-to-date

As a general principle, whilst it can be easy to get caught up in the ‘here and now’ and decide that with so many unknowns (even with the welcome Covid catch-up premium) MAT forecasting will be lacking accuracy, it remains important to make sure this is up-to-date throughout the year. Having prudent financial forecasts at your fingertips is always needed by MAT leaders to aid decision-making and for boards to make informed decisions using reliable data, so never lose sight of the wider strategic need.


  1. Save yourself time, get into good habits

Not only is there a strategic need for keeping your forecasting up-to-date, there is also a workload issue. By keeping on top of a monthly cycle you reduce the effort for each forecast, and are also only ever a month away from your next set of financial data, so you can therefore ensure that decision-making is always based upon current financial information. Unfortunately we still see Trusts who may only prepare a forecast to satisfy the BFR requirements, when actually work on this should be ‘live’ and ongoing.


  1. It’s difficult to do this retrospectively

Let’s use the single BFR online form as an example here. If you were to leave the form until the end of July, one element of the BFR submission is your actuals, which cover 1st September 2020-31st March 2021. It is therefore important that the full accounting month end procedure is completed at this point, with all of the necessary adjustments (accruals/prepayments etc) being posted as required. Re-creating historic ‘as-at’ positions is difficult, and accounting systems can struggle with retrospective reporting, so ensuring that this is addressed in April is crucial.


  1. Future proof your finances

What this past year has shown is that reliable management accounts are needed, as is agility of financial processes. Trust leaders are familiar with operating within a moving landscape and will know the importance of robust financial planning for the future. This means continuing with their in-year forecasting and formulating strategic budget plans even when information, assumptions and reporting deadlines are uncertain. The lack of a robust forecasting process could limit resources available for frontline application.


Here’s how our own MAT software can help: https://www.impsoftware.co.uk/multi-academy-trust-forecasting/ https://www.impsoftware.co.uk/mat-reporting/


Will Jordan is Co-Founder of IMP Software, specialists in MAT budgeting systems. You can also download our new insight report, A Growing Philosophy: How are Multi-Academy Trusts developing their operating models through centralisation? here https://cdn.impsoftware.co.uk/2020/12/A-Growing-Philosophy-%E2%80%93-How-are-Multi-Academy-Trusts-developing-their-operating-models-through-centralisation.pdf


Dentsu UK partners with Co-op for the 2021 edition of pioneering schools programme The Code

Innovative training initiative to bridge the skills and diversity gap returns for fifth year after reaching 11,000 students so far 


London, 17 March 2021: Dentsu UK’s flagship schools programme, The Code, will celebrate its fifth year by partnering with convenience retailer Co-op for the return of the Rise Up Creative Challenge.  


The challenge, in collaboration with leading overlooked talent specialist MyKindaFuture, is open to young people aged 15 to 18, and supports dentsu in its aim to reach more than 15,000 young people in the UK by the end of 2021. So far, it has reached more than 11,000 through The Code programme.  


It will run for three months from 17 March and supports The Code’s aim to open the doors of the creative industries to students from under-represented backgrounds and communities. For example, last year’s edition saw 61% of participants identify as female and 52% from BAME backgrounds. To facilitate this, dentsu will continue to work with 13 partner schools from across the UK in areas with low social mobility, and higher than average BAME representation and students on free school meals.   


The Rise Up Creative Challenge supports young people’s development across the UK by asking them to come up with a creative digital advertising campaign that helps tackle a real client brief.  This year’s edition will see students work on three areas of focus for the Co-op: Community, Healthy Living and A Better World.  


Co-creating solutions to the world’s biggest challenges is a consistent theme for The Code and in the lead-up to COP26, the Rise Up Creative Challenge gives a platform to the next generation of leaders and activists to share their ideas on how to build back better and confront the climate crisis. 


Students will have access to The Code’s digital curriculum, which was developed last year using the knowledge of dentsu experts in digital, media and creative. The online curriculum was launched to help address the lack of support for young people’s development during the global pandemic. It includes access to mentors from dentsu and Co-op, and on-demand video courses around topics such as the importance of data and audience insights in marketing.  


Entrants will present their campaigns to a team of judges that includes: dentsu UK’s CEO of Creative James Morris, Co-op Customer Director Ali Jones, and Adweek’s UK Bureau Chief Stephen Lepitak. The winner will see their idea brought to life and – along with three highly commended entries – will receive work experience and a host of prizes from Co-op and dentsu.  


James Morris, CEO – Creative and Chair of DEI Council, dentsu UK & Ireland said: “The effect of the pandemic has been felt at every level of society, especially in education. Businesses must step up and help bridge the ever-widening skills and attainment gap for disadvantaged students. Co-op leads the way in supporting community actions. Together, we can take this further, providing the essential training and access needed to provide a pathway to a future career in the creative industries.”

Ali Jones, Customer Director, Co-op said: “We’re proud to partner with an agency business like dentsu, which has a clear, active Social Impact strategy designed to tackle the issues facing our society. That lies at the heart of what we do and supporting young people through the pandemic has been a key focus for us. We’re delighted to be partnering with The Code programme to give students across the country an opportunity to come up with tangible ways to support their communities while at the same time opening up greater opportunities for their own futures.” 


The Rise Up Creative Challenge is open to all students who can take part by visiting: https://dentsu.connectr.co.uk/coderiseup 


Meeting the needs of young people in challenging environments is a key part of dentsu’s Social Impact programme globally. The Code first launched in the UK in 2016 and is now live in 11 markets globally including the US and Canada to support dentsu’s goal to support 100,000 young people globally to become empowered digital citizens. More information on The Code can be found at https://www.thecode-dentsu.com/ 


Education software provider launches innovative pre-order meal app for schools

Pre-order school meals on-the-go

International provider of cashless education software, ami Education, has launched Infinity+ Order, a pre-order app for schools globally. As part of their Infinity+ range of cashless retail and payment, ID management and registration software for schools and colleges around the world, the Infinity+ Order app enables pupils to pre-order their school meals in advance directly from their phones, ready to pick up at lunchtime.


Contactless meal ordering

To facilitate a contactless lunchtime for pupils, the Infinity+ Order app is linked with Infinity+ cashless software to ensure a simple payment and service process.

When pupils order their school meals via the app, the payment is automatically deducted from their cashless account. This function offers a fully contactless lunch service, and schools are encouraged to control traffic flow with designated pre-order pick-up points.


“When COVID-19 forced schools around the world to close, we knew that it was vital to ensure that there was a safe solution in place for pupils to pre-order and collect their lunch when schools reopen. We’re excited to offer schools a simple way to do this with the Infinity+ Order app, which allows pupils to order, pay and collect their lunches with just a few clicks.” – Tony Reeves, Head of Operations at ami Education.


Key features of the pre-order app include:


  • Removes the need for cash in the dining hall
  • Completely contactless lunch service
  • Pupils can check their live cashless balance anywhere and anytime
  • Software is linked to Infinity+ cashless system for a seamlessly integrated pre-order system
  • Pre-order school meals in advance, for the date of their choice
  • School catering teams are notified of meals ordered in advance and can prepare quantities of food accordingly, reducing food wastage
  • Pupils and parents can view current and previous orders

Following the app launch, a selection of UK schools implemented Infinity+ Order as part of their cashless catering solutions. When reviewing the app, one parent said:

“The app is amazing. My daughter downloaded it and now pre-orders almost every day.” – Secondary school parent, Preston


With retailers adapting to the COVID-19 crisis by switching to contactless order methods, many schools have implemented similar solutions, with ami’s Infinity+ Order pre-order app offering schools a way to mimic out-of-the-gate spending.


For school catering teams, Infinity+ Order is designed to improve efficiencies by notifying staff in advance of meals ordered to allow catering teams to prepare food accordingly and reduce food wastage.


About ami Education

With over 25 years of experience delivering software to education establishments around the world, ami Education is one of the UK’s leading provider of cashless catering and ID management solutions for the education industry. Ami’s Transact and Infinity+ software offers a suite of fully integrated cashless catering and biometric technologies designed to meet the needs of schools and colleges.

For more information on the Infinity+ Order app, please visit Infinity+ Order app.


Lockdown lifted your savings? Top tips for making your money work for you


Daniela Attenborough, financial consultant at Wesleyan Group, the specialist financial services mutual for teachers explores how teachers can get the most out of their lockdown savings.


In the face of long hours, high workloads and the challenges of adapting to remote and online learning,

managing personal finances might have understandably fallen to the bottom of your to-do list.


Lockdown might, however, have given you the opportunity to save more than usual. Our own research

found that, on average, individuals saved £276 a month during the coronavirus pandemic, compared

with £240 before.


If you have been able to put some extra away, it will be important to consider how you can use this

money to support your personal and financial goals and make it work as hard as you do.


Here are four key things to think about when it comes to using those extra lockdown savings.


Review your savings plans and targets


Any saving habit should be accompanied by a savings strategy – understanding what you need the

money for, combined with your own personal circumstances, will help you determine the best way to

manage your money.


Being able to save that little bit extra over the past year might have meant that you’re now closer to any

existing goals you had established, or in a better position to set-up new ones.


As a very first step it will be important to review your targets to ensure they align with your current



Before putting money towards any goals, however, consider whether you need to start, or top-up, an

emergency fund for a rainy day first.


Setting aside three months’ worth of net household income is a good starting buffer. With this in place,

you can then think about committing money to other savings pots.


Don’t overlook retirement


For some, retirement can feel like a long way off, but it’s important to start planning for the day you step

back from the classroom as early as possible.


You may want to consider putting any extra lockdown savings towards your retirement plans. Speaking

to a financial adviser can help you understand the best way to put your money towards your retirement

– be it investing, or by purchasing additional pension through the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS).


If you haven’t yet established a retirement strategy, now could be the perfect time to do so.


It’s important to consider factors such as when you’d like to retire, and what retirement will look like to

you. From here, you can determine how much income you will need at different stages of your retirement

and how you can grow your pension pot.


Again, a financial adviser can support with this process – they can help you calculate the financial

implications of choices such as taking a phased retirement or working past your retirement date, and

understand when you can start to withdraw funds from your pension savings.

Investing, investing, investing


With interest rates currently lower than inflation, simply keeping cash in the bank means that the value

of your savings effectively falls over time.

Putting some of your extra lockdown savings into investments can provide a way to grow your wealth

by helping to beat low interest rates, outperform inflation and build new income streams. And you don’t

need huge sums to start investing – any amount of money can be put to work.


The very first thing to consider is whether investing is right for you. Investing isn’t a ‘quick win’ and generally takes place over longer periods of time – at least five years, but typically longer. If you know you might need your savings sooner, investing might not be the right option.


You will also need to consider your appetite to risk – the value of your investments can go down as well

as up. Each asset you can invest in, whether it’s property, bonds, cash or stocks, comes with its own level of risk, as well as its own degree of reward. Diversifying your investment portfolio by spreading investments across asset classes can offer a degree of protection against a single asset’s poor performance.

An easy way to do this is to put your money in an investment fund that covers many different types of

assets, spreading the overall risk. Each fund has a risk rating that you can use to see if it’s a good fit

for you. Please remember the value of investments can go down as well as up and you may get back less than you invest.


Maximise tax-efficiencies


Using your tax-free savings allowances can help you make the most out of the lockdown cash you’ve

put aside. Putting your money in an Individual Savings Account (ISA) could be a good option to consider.

You can save up to £20,000 tax-free into an ISA for both the 2020-21 tax year and for the upcoming

2021-2022 with no tax charged on any interest earned.


The deadline for using your ISA allowance for 2020-21 is midnight on 5 April, and you won’t be able to

carry over any unused allowance from year to year.

There are a range of ISA types you can use. For example, a cash ISA allows you to save money in

cash, meanwhile, a ‘stocks & shares’ ISA – such as Wesleyan’s With Profits ISA – allows you to make

investments with your money in assets like funds, bonds or individual stocks.**

Wesleyan’s With Profits Fund was recently ranked 1st place* for its five-year net return of 7.31% by independent actuarial services provider Barnett Waddingham. And because it’s an ISA, our customers didn’t pay tax on any returns they earnt.


At Wesleyan Financial Services , we understand the unique financial needs of teachers. Our specialist financial consultants are available who can offer advice at every stage of your savings journey, from setting targets through to reviewing your pension savings.


For more information visit: Stocks and Shares ISA for Teachers (wesleyan.co.uk)



Please note that past performance is not a reliable guide to future performance and the value of your investment can go down as well as up, so you could get back less than you invested.