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Accounting clubs in schools

A financial capability programme for schools provided by Accounting Cafe

While dealing with applications, student finance, and course comparisons, it’s easy to overlook the vast knowledge that university staff provide students and the broader community. In this blog post, we spoke about Accounting Clubs in Schools with Toby York, a Senior Lecturer in Accounting at Middlesex University and the founder of Accounting Cafe, a community of accounting educators and learners. Accounting Clubs in Schools is a programme that provides financial education as an enrichment activity for 16–18 year olds.

What’s the purpose behind Accounting Clubs in Schools?

I recently heard troubling stories from young people new to the workplace — personal insolvency, paying off court-enforced debts, and using payday loans. They all agreed that, in part, their situations were due to a lack of education. No one at school had talked to them about money in ways that made sense to them.

The failure to teach personal finance to every pupil in the country is a scandal. Admittedly, the problems are systemic, complex and multi-faceted, and we certainly can’t blame schools or teaching staff who are under pressure from all directions. But Accounting Clubs in Schools can help.

At its heart, Accounting Clubs in Schools is a financial capability programme. It gives students a model for managing their financial affairs for life with confidence, clarity and competence. It takes a broad view of personal financial education by encouraging participants to explore their relationship with money.

What makes Accounting Clubs in Schools distinctive?

Accounting Clubs in Schools develops financial capabilities using a framework-based approach — an accounting lens. This empowers individuals to evaluate any financial situation, no matter how unfamiliar it seems. It also allows them to apply what they learn to their current financial situation rather than to an imagined (and often wealthier) future self.

This is the only UK programme for schools licensed to use the unique Colour Accounting Learning System — a learning method and a physical package which includes a pop-up accounting board. It’s an engaging, fun and active way to learn how finance works.

Accounting Club is delivered over 10 weeks as an extra-curricular activity. This allows participants to develop knowledge and skills, deepen understanding and apply what they learn to practical scenarios.

What do students learn in Accounting Club?

The programme has three parts, each of which runs for three weeks.

Firstly, participants discover and explore accounting fundamentals. They develop a deep understanding of the accounting framework used worldwide by businesses of all types and sizes.

Secondly, participants get to “do accounting” in a business context using the Colour Accounting Learning System.

The third part focuses on personal finance. This builds on previous work and helps participants relate financial decisions to their desires and aspirations.

The final week is set aside for reflections, celebrations and presentations.

What has been the impact so far?

Accounting Clubs are currently running in a handful of schools, and the responses have been enthusiastic and positive. We are now expanding the pilot phase to schools nationwide.

Schools taking part have said the programme exceeds their students’ expectations and is a very powerful way of presenting personal finance. One teacher said her head was buzzing with ideas about applying the contents to her BTEC, A-Level and T-Level classes. They also appreciate the high quality of resources and support Accounting Cafe provides.

How can a teacher set up an Accounting Club?

Being an ACE — an Accounting Club Educator — is a way to use experience and skills and apply teaching practices in new contexts, using different resources and materials. This improves teaching practice and provides evidence of continuing professional development.

People from various disciplines deliver Accounting Clubs in Schools: school teachers, academics, and professional accountants. In fact, anybody with education or business experience can deliver the programme.

Accounting Cafe provides live online training, resources and support that give ACEs practical steps and confidence to deliver effective and impactful Accounting Club meetings.

Find out more and sign up on the Accounting Cafe website.

Accounting Cafe is a community of expert accounting educators delivering better accounting education for everybody everywhere.

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