Frequently asked questions
What is Shares4Schools?
Shares4Schools is a real money investment competition, run by leading stockbroker The Share Centre, which gives Year 12 students experience of buying and selling shares on the stock market.
How do students take part?
Students must form a team (around four to ten members is a good team size) and, with a little help and guidance from their teacher, decide how to invest £2,000 on the stock market between October and June. The team needs to make at least 10 trades (buys or sells) during this time.
Different schools take different approaches to Shares4Schools. Some teachers take a hands-on approach, discussing possible investments during Economics or Business Studies lessons. Others are happy to leave students to discuss investments in their own time (especially once the students have a feel for things).
While the decision-making is done by the students, the trading of the shares will be done by the teacher (or another school employee) using The Share Centre’s website, share.com. This is because share dealing by those under the age of 18 is not permitted.
The students have ‘view only’ access to the portfolio via The Share Centre website, and can also track the school’s progress compared to other teams on the League Table available here.
When does the competition take place?
It generally runs over eight months from late October/early November (depending when the autumn half term falls) until the third week of June.
Is there a deadline for entering? Can I enter after the competition has started?
The sooner you enter the better so we can get your account set up and show you how the competition works before it kicks off. However you can still enter the competition if you have missed this deadline – provided you are able to invest £500 of your portfolio by the end of December as set out in our rules.
How does the funding work?
The school must put up £1,000 of its own funds to take part in the competition. The Share Centre matches this with a further £1,000 to create a £2,000 investment pot. After the competition ends, The Share Centre reclaims its £1,000, leaving the school with whatever is left (hopefully including some nice investment returns!)
It is of course possible that the value of your investments and the income from them may have fallen. Some schools have lost money in the past – that’s the nature of investing.
What if a school’s losses eat into The Share Centre’s portion of the investment pot?
Thankfully it has been rare so far for a school’s portfolio to reduce by more than 50%. If it does happen, The Share Centre will bear the cost of this and we will not ask the school to make up the difference.
What if the teacher has no experience of investing?
With a wealth of research tools available not only on share.com but also across a wide range of other media, it has never been so easy to make informed decisions about investments – and we aim to make the process of trading shares online as straightforward as possible. If you have any doubts we have a range of easy-to-read guides to help get you started.
What age groups can take part?
The competition is for students in Year 12, or Secondary 5 in Scotland. We do not believe it is appropriate for Year 13/S6 students as the time commitment required to participate could be a distraction from exams.
How should I teach Shares4Schools?
Some schools cover Shares4Schools in lesson time, others as an extra-curricular activity. This is what one teacher (a previous winner!) has told us: “I kick things off with three lessons introducing students to share ownership and investing strategies, using the information in The Share Centre’s investment guides.
“From then on little formal time is spent in lessons. The students discuss potential investments between themselves outside of lessons (using a discussion chat site for this) and pass their choices to me so I can place the trades. If a particularly interesting or relevant choice is made I will then seek to apply this to the following lesson.”
How many team members should I have?
There are no hard and fast rules on numbers, but we advise that it is best to have a team of between four and ten members.