The BEE programme


Children at Poplar’s Lansbury Lawrence Primary School have set out (22 January) on a financial journey that will introduce them to the concepts of money, banking, taxation and enterprise. Assisting them over the next year are volunteers from the insurance and financial services firm, Prudential.

The school and company are partnering each other on the BEE programme (Teaching Business, Enterprise and Employability in Schools) organised by local charity, Tower Hamlets Education Business Partnership.

The first session, ‘Making Money Choices’, was a chance for pupils to meet some of the volunteers and to look at aspects of money such as what did people do before money was introduced? Currency, saving – balancing needs and wants. How to spend pocket money?

An exercise for the children to work out the monetary value of their names – with each letter of the alphabet allocated an amount of money – proved a big hit. Deciding between wants and needs was a greater challenge with several deciding that they simply could not live without an X-box, DVD or teddy bear. “You’d die from loneliness if you didn’t have a teddy,” said one child.

Six workshops make up the BEE programme and will take the pupils through from Year 5 to Year 6. They will cover topics such as working for a living, tax, earning and paying interest, negotiating, history of money, retail and marketing. There will be visits to the firm’s offices, the Bank of England and Museum in Docklands. The scheme culminates in an enterprise exercise where the pupils design, make, cost and sell a range of custom-made greetings cards.

The children certainly seemed to enjoy their first foray into the world of finance. “I liked working out how much my name is worth and I learned that they use different currency around the world,” said Hazera Amin (9).

Neils Hesse, one of the Prudential volunteers said after the workshop. “(They are) happy children, that are genuinely interested in learning and engaging with new ideas. It was very rewarding to be able to help enrich younger minds with tangible and practical skills. I would very much like to do more, similar sessions, and would be happy to return to the same school.”

Prudential volunteers also assist with the BEE programme at Virginia Primary School in Bethnal Green.

Becky Feetham, Tower Hamlets Education Business Partnership’s Primary Programmes Manager said: “Everyone should have a good understanding of how to manage money and the earlier we can start, the better. Ten new companies have joined the BEE programme since September 2013, bringing the total number of schemes in the borough to 15. At least four more schools are keen to take part if we can find companies to partner them and more primary schools will come on board if we are able to offer them the opportunity.”

Business organisations that may be able to offer volunteers for the BEE programme can find out more or register their interest by visiting the Tower Hamlets Education Business Partnership website


The BEE programme was developed by the National Number Partners consortium of which Tower Hamlets EBP is a founder member. All of the resources and materials used on the programme are accredited by pfeg (Personal Finance Education Group).

Number Partners, conceived by Tower Hamlets EBP, matches business volunteers with small groups of primary school pupils, who meet weekly or fortnightly, for half an hour at lunchtime, to play maths-related games. The concept has now been adopted by schools nationally, via the National Number Partners consortium. Having participated in Number Partners for several years, primary school teachers in Tower Hamlets requested help with financial literacy skills for their pupils and the BEE programme was born.

For further information contact: Becky Feetham Primary Project Manager Tel: 020 7655 0302Fax: 020 7375 2323



BEE Lansbury Lawrence Neils leads session