The investment competition that uses real money
Since 2003, the Shares4Schools competition has been bringing Economics and Business studies to life as sixth form students invest real money into the stock market. Organised by The Share Centre, a leading retail stockbroker, each team competing in the competition starts with an investment pot of £2,000 to invest into the stock market (£1,000 of which is contributed by The Share Centre), with the aim of achieving the greatest profit over the period October to June. Unlike other investment competitions, Shares4Schools allows students to invest real money into real stocks and shares.
The competition allows Year 12 students to build upon their financial knowledge as they learn about the mechanisms of the stock market. The pupils will also progress their team working skills as they work together to develop their investment strategy and their attitude to risk.
At the end of the competition, the shares are sold and the team that has gained the most profit will be declared the overall winner. Excitingly, schools keep any profits made from the competition to use at their discretion. In the past, schools have used the profits they earned to pay for school trips and even donated to charities they support. The realistic nature of the competition means that it’s important to note that the value of investments and the income from them can go down as well as up. Some schools have lost money in the past, so keep a keen eye on your investments!
After basking in their glory over the summer we invite the national and regional winning schools to attend a special awards ceremony in London in the autumn. The students will get to meet fund managers responsible for multi-million pound portfolios, while the national winning team will have the privilege of presenting to the room about their investment strategy – a fantastic experience for the students.
Previous Winners’ Day events have taken place at Church House Conference Centre in Westminster, London Stock Exchange and Mansion House in the City of London.
Why Year 12? The Child Trust Fund connection
Year 12 – when students are 16-17 years of age – is a critical time in a young person’s financial maturity. For those born between 1 September 2002 and 2 January 2011, their 16th birthday marks the point at which they can access the Child Trust Fund account created for them by the Government. At 16 they are able to take control of the account, before getting access to their money when they reach 18 years of age.
Shares4Schools is therefore a major stepping stone during this important period before adulthood, helping to build young people’s confidence and enabling them to make informed financial decisions – crucial skills as the young person starts to take control of their Child Trust Fund.
Shares4Schools is working with The Share Foundation and TISA to raise awareness of Child Trust Funds and support those who have ‘lost’ their account.
How much does the school need to invest?
The school puts in an initial stake of £1,000. This is matched with £1,000 by The Share Centre to create an investment pot of £2,000.
At the end of the competition the shares are sold and The Share Centre reclaims its £1,000. The remaining portfolio value, including any profit, is returned to the school.