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Stratford Girls' Grammar School Stratford-Upon-Avon
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Stretch & Challenge - Money & Investments - by Ellen Welford

Sixth Form student Ellen Welford tells us more about the Stretch and Challenge initiative, why she chose the Money & Investments option and how she did...

Every SGGS Sixth Form student undertakes a Stretch and Challenge topic, ranging from Engineering, to Photography, or Sports. Stretch and Challenge is designed to provide an insight into something different to daily studies, without the pressure of an examination.  I was drawn to the ‘Money and Investments’ option, which dovetailed particularly well with my Economics A-level, and provided the opportunity to learn more about the world of money and finance in a practical sense.  To date, topics have included university budgeting (including student loans, and money management), various forms of insurance (such as car and home insurance, and the complexities therein), how to buy a home, and how the stock market and foreign exchange markets operate.

As an extended opportunity, students can participate in the Student Investor Challenge, where teams of 4 invest a virtual fund of £100,000, to create and manage a portfolio of stock, with the aim of building the highest increase in portfolio value over the course of 2 months. Decisions must be made regarding the selection of stock from the FTSE 100, a selection of smaller stocks, and ETF’s, to create a balanced portfolio.  As with all stock market investments, nothing is guaranteed, and investments fluctuate in value – adjustments must be made to account for any drops, and anticipate potential gains. For the first half of the competition, our portfolio (CR3DIT CRUNCH3RS) performed at a steady rate, but was not leading the pack, until one particular selection started to climb rapidly, propelling our team into the top 25 nationally (of nearly 5000 teams).  Over the coming days, our portfolio continued to rise in value, until we finally overtook Warwick School to take first place!  Over a tense fortnight that followed, the CR3DIT CRUNCH3RS managed to maintain the top slot, and hold it until the round ended. As a result, the team qualifies for the semi-finals, which kick off on the 19 February. This next round involves the prediction of the closing prices for selected stocks at the close of the markets on a particular week.  Considering recent stock market turbulence, this will be no mean feat but we are aiming high, and staying focused on the winning prize of a fully-funded trip to New York!

As for the remainder of the Money and Investment course, topics will include deeper examination of other aspects of the stock market, including IPO’s, bonds, and the infamous credit crunch.

The Stretch & Challenge initiative at SGGS is hugely valuable and I am really enjoying it.

Ellen Welford, Year 12

Published on 12th March 18