Founded in 1727, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is one of the oldest banks in the UK. But with its focus on the future, RBS is making a vital contribution to the education of young people in some of the most challenging areas of the UK.
Since RBS first partnered with us in 2012, their support has been vital in achieving our mission of making sure that even those from the lowest-income backgrounds have access to a great education. Our partnership has particularly focused on helping us recruit, train and support 21 teachers across three key areas — Manchester, Southwark and Tower Hamlets — who have a meaningful impact on the lives of over 2,600 pupils and their local communities.
One such teacher is Sophie Perry, who teaches in Bolton, Greater Manchester. ”I joined Teach First because I really believe in the vision of closing the educational gap and the idea of working in schools in disadvantaged communities,” says Sophie, “My school is in an area of Bolton which serves the bottom five percent of disadvantaged children in the country. It became an academy four years ago, and adopted the mission statement: ‘Always succeed’.”
One of the challenges in Sophie’s school is the language barrier, which she must work to overcome while also teaching her core subject, maths. “The school also has a lot of international new arrivals, with 84% of our students identified as EAL [English as an Additional Language]. As far as maths is concerned, it’s a universal language, so I can help students who might not have much English through modelling and writing things down. It’s a challenge though, as I have to find visual ways to model things because of that language barrier. When using some of the more technical language it is vital to find an approach that they can understand.”
Translating new concepts into understandable ideas is something RBS champions through its other work in education. The bank has been delivering financial education in schools for 21 years through Pocket Money (primary school) and MoneySense (secondary school). These free, interactive programmes aim to give pupils the skills and knowledge they need to manage their money, so that they can thrive in today’s society and be prepared for independent living. Many of our teachers and partner schools use Pocket Money and MoneySense materials and resources, to educate young people about managing their money, understanding credit and debt and planning their financial future.
RBS employees are also highly engaged with our work. Since 2013 the firm has provided sixteen volunteer coaches to support our teachers. A vital part of the support network we build around our teachers, coaches help them overcome challenges in the classroom by offering an impartial ear and perspective from outside the school setting and helping teachers to realise their own solutions. Meanwhile, an upcoming Careers Insight lesson run by RBS volunteers in Birmingham will introduce students to careers in the financial sector, the paths into it and the qualifications required.
RBS’s support for our work continues to make a difference to teachers like Sophie and to the educational journey of the young people who need it most. The firm’s support for our teachers and its employee volunteering has reached almost 3,000 young people with inspirational teaching and leadership to date, helping to inspire and support the next generation.