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Forget the Pound or the Euro – one school in Fishponds has issued its very own currency.

Pupils at Frome Vale Academy (FVA) can now spend Penguin Pounds – school money designed by Year 5 teacher Ross Fossard and featuring the academy mascot.

Penguin Pounds are the brainchild of the entrepreneurial Principal of Frome Vale, Jan Saunders, and are designed to help prepare pupils for life beyond school.

Pupils can earn Penguin Pounds by carrying out jobs they can apply for, including first aid monitors, lunch trolley monitors, play buddies and recyclers. Initially they need to earn Frome Vale citizen cards for good behaviours and carrying out their jobs. When they have 10 Frome Vale citizen cards, they can convert them to one Penguin Pound.

They can spend their pounds on goods in a prize box from Principal’s office that include toys, rubbers, funky pencils and Frome Vale citizen pens, plus they can buy cakes or sweets when they are on sale. If they save up their pounds, ten can be exchanged for a Frome Vale hoodie.

All this might sound like great fun but there is a serious side to this initiative. It’s all about becoming a Frome Vale citizen, holding down a job, earning a salary and realising if you don’t work you don’t get paid. It also supports pupils to take responsibility for their money.

School leaders hope this will make them better citizens when they enter the wider world, by teaching them life skills that will stay with them and to prepare them for what lies ahead.

Principal Jan Saunders said, “This is a natural step in the development of Frome Vale Citizen and how we develop children as both citizens at FVA and in the wider community. It is key to our main curriculum aims of developing self-agency.”