Merseyside special school awarded ‘Centre of Excellence’ status for its finance curriculum

Wargrave House school and college in Merseyside is a new centre of excellence for teaching personal finance.

The specialist autism school became the 100th named centre after taking part in the Personal Finance Education Group (PFEG) centres of excellence programme, part of the Young Enterprise charity, supported by financial journalist Martin Lewis of Money Week.

The programme helped the school to improve its finance curriculum through staff training, action plans and advice from personal and education advisers sent from the charity.

L-R: Steve Hogarth (financial champion, Wargrave House school), Michael Mercieca (CEO PFEG), Courtney, Ben, Herbie, James, Matthew, Gennie Hyde (head of education, Wargrave House)
L R Steve Hogarth financial champion Wargrave House school Michael Mercieca CEO PFEG Courtney Ben Herbie James Matthew Gennie Hyde head of education Wargrave House

The school caters for children and young people from 5 to 25 who are on the autistic spectrum, and for whom learning to be independent is a vital aspect of the curriculum.

Gennie Hyde, head of education, said: “We provide a highly specialist approach to education, but our focus for all of our students, regardless of ability, is independence.

People with autism are very concrete learners. To learn, they need to be experiencing what you’re teaching them

“People with autism are very concrete learners. To learn, they need to be experiencing what you’re teaching them about, so if you’re looking at money and finance we teach it in context, in a shop with real money.”

The school has now revised its maths curriculum and is implementing an annual “My Money Week” event, which will focus on managing personal finances and help pupils to understand potentially tricky topics such as pensions and exchange rates.

Since receiving their new centre of excellence status, Wargrave students have been invited to speak about their learning experiences at a national conference hosted by the charity.

The PFEG programme is free and open to schools, colleges and universities that want to develop their teaching of finance.

Speaking of the school’s accolade, Martin Lewis said: “For a school to take the teaching of finance on board and to say they want to become one of the best schools in the country for it is music to my ears.”


Featured picture: MP Suella Fernandes presents Matthew and James with the award

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