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It all adds up for Fabian Schär at Newcastle United Foundation financial maths lesson

Dozens of schoolchildren learning the importance of managing money with Newcastle United Foundation enjoyed an extra special lesson with qualified banker turned Magpies centre-back, Fabian Schär.

The one-time Swiss bank intern took time after training to visit West Walker Primary School in Newcastle where Year 5 pupils are balancing the books with the club’s official charity.

The initiative, funded by asset management company Liontrust is part of the Premier League’s, Primary Stars programme, which takes schoolchildren through a six-week numeracy course, and intends to improve their understanding of money management and gives them the confidence to flourish in maths lessons. 

Schär made the perfect teaching assistant alongside qualified teacher and Newcastle United Foundation Literacy and Numeracy Coordinator, Phil Cowler. During the class, the Swiss international shared his experience of balancing banking and football in the early years of his career.

The Liontrust Financial Football programme uses Newcastle United to encourage pupils to engage with maths problems, using real-life scenarios such as buying from the club shop and borrowing with interest, to teach concepts like budgeting, debt and saving.

After spending the afternoon at West Walker Primary, Schär said: “There is no harm in knowing how to manage money and it’s a great idea for children to start thinking about things like this at such a young age.

“For me, I used to work in a bank when I was a teenager in Switzerland so I definitely understand what the children are learning about here. It’s a very good thing for them to do.”

He added: “The work the Newcastle United Foundation are doing in schools is also very important. It’s nice to see children enjoying maths and football at the same time like I did!”

The programme is six hours in duration, spread over six weeks and is pitched at a Key Stage 2 pupils. Each one-hour lesson provides pupils with background information, training questions, fluency checks and instant feedback through our ‘answers’ section. Pupils have opportunities to work in pairs and independently, all while being part of a team. 

Newcastle United Foundation Literacy and Numeracy Coordinator, Phil Cowler, said: “Following a pilot programme, we have been delivering the Financial Football programme for six months now, and it has been fantastic to see the pupils testing out their problem-solving skills with our SATs-style questions and getting to grips with the world of finance. 

“We use football-related maths challenges to get the classes engaged and we have seen pupils who sometimes struggle to feel enthusiastic about numeracy really getting involved and feeling much more comfortable in their own abilities.

“The progress these children make academically and personally is remarkable and we are thrilled to have Liontrust on board, ensuring we can continue to support schools and young people across the North East.”

Liontrust Chief Marketing Officer, Simon Hildrey, said: “We are incredibly proud of our work with Newcastle United Foundation which is helping to bridge the gap between traditional maths lessons and financial skills we use in everyday life.

“Helping children to understand and apply numeracy though financial education is very important to us.

“We are thrilled to see the results of the programme.”    

"I used to work in a bank when I was a teenager in Switzerland so I definitely understand what the children are learning about here. It's a very good thing for them to do. The work the Newcastle United Foundation are doing in schools is very important."

Fabian Schär

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