Business development

How parents can earn cash back rewards for your setting

Boost your nursery’s budget with My School Fund, just by doing your weekly shop
A photograph of two women, Helen Swann and Yasmin Hughes of Eduzone, on a blue background.
June 14, 2023
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In a rush? Here’s the quick run-down.

  • My School Fund by ESPO (who you’ll recognise if you buy your resources from Eduzone) allows parents, carers, and staff to earn cashback rewards for their Early Years setting in the form of Argos and Sainsbury’s vouchers.
  • ESPO set up My School Fund in November 2020, out of a wish to ease some of the strain of budgeting for parents and schools. 
  • Once a setting is registered with My School Fund, individuals can link their cards and begin to receive cashback rewards on Argos and Sainsbury’s purchases - 1% for their setting and 2% for themselves. And it’s free to join!

If I told you that you could boost your setting’s budget for resources, at no extra cost to you, I imagine you’d be (understandably) sceptical. But that’s exactly what My School Fund by ESPO promises.

When participating individuals (parents, grandparents, staff, or carers) shop at Argos or Sainsbury’s and pay using their linked credit or debit card, they earn cashback for your setting, in the form of e-gift cards. It doesn’t cost the settings or the parents any extra, and they even get a percentage of cashback too.

So how on earth does it work? I met with Helen Swann, ESPO’s Head of Business Development, and Yasmin Hughes, their Marketing and Communications Manager, to find out.

What is My School Fund?

ESPO set up My School Fund in November 2020, because the team could see that parents and education settings were struggling. The strain of budgeting through Covid 19 (and now the cost of living crisis) meant parents and schools were worse off - their money just didn’t go as far as it used to. So Helen, Yasmin, and their colleagues stepped up to help.

“My School Fund is a game-changer for nurseries, giving a much-needed boost to funds and helping budgets to stretch further,” says Yasmin, “At a time when the cost of living is increasing it can also help to ease the financial strain for individuals, it really is a win-win.”

With some joined-up thinking, and help from supermarket giant Sainsbury’s, My School Fund was born.

How does it work?

There are no hidden costs to settings and it’s completely free for parents, educators, support staff, and carers to earn cashback on their weekly shop. 1% goes to their chosen setting (a school or nursery) and 2% goes to the shopper themselves, in the form of vouchers to spend at Argos or Sainsbury’s. 

“It’s a win-win for everyone,” explains Helen, “Settings earn some extra cash and the linked card-holders get some money back too.”

Since the scheme has been extended to nurseries, there are now over 11,000 individuals and 1,500 schools, nurseries, and pre-schools registered. This has generated over £250,000 in cashback rewards distributed so far to schools, nurseries, and individuals, with almost £100,000 for participating settings alone.

“We are thrilled to have given away almost £100k in rewards to schools and nurseries so far,” says Helen, “We are delighted to be able to support local communities while extending a helping hand to nurseries too.“

And they’re not done yet. Helen and Yasmin say ESPO are looking to add even more retailers to the scheme, so settings can have an even greater choice of where to earn and spend. 

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How do I sign up?

To start earning your cashback vouchers, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Register your setting at this link
    The text talks about ‘school’ instead of ‘pre-school’ or ‘nursery’ but don’t worry, Early Years settings can absolutely register too. You’ll need to enter your setting’s Unique Reference Number, simply email to receive yours.
  2. Once your setting is registered, it’s time to start earning
    Anyone can link their payment card to your setting, so Yasmin and Helen recommend starting with your staff team first. That way your team can explain just how easy the process is to parents. Use this link to register individuals, who can then add the payment card they want to use to start earning the cashback. No payment is taken from the card at all, it’s just to track money spent in Argos or Sainsbury’s so the cashback can be given.
  3. Get parents and families on board
    ESPO offers free promotional packs to encourage parents, carers and families to get registered, which you can also download here. Take a look at Helen and Yasmin’s top tips (below) for more inspiration.
  4. Draw down your vouchers
    Once parents, carers, staff, or anyone with a linked card begins spending, you can follow your progress by logging into your My School Fund account. The cashback is valid 12 months from when you earn it, so if you want to save up, make sure you draw down your funds regularly into vouchers.

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My School Fund top tips

The key to building up your cashback is getting as many parents, carers and staff involved as possible. Here are Yasmin and Helen’s top tips for doing just that:

  • Once you’ve made a purchase with your vouchers, Helen recommends that you put one of your My School Fund stickers (available in the free promotional pack) on it, so parents can see the difference they’re making.
  • Download and display the My School Fund target tracker, so everyone involved can follow along with your progress. This works really well if you’re saving up for a larger purchase.
  • Yasmin suggests that whenever you make a purchase with your vouchers, send a thank you message home. You could add a post to your Famly newsfeed for example, so parents and carers feel appreciated for helping out.
  • Don’t forget to let your parents know that anyone with a linked card can still collect your nectar points alongside the My School Fund scheme, although sadly they won’t accrue the cashback on baby formula or petrol (see the full Ts and Cs here).
  • Remind everyone to use their physical credit or debit card - the cashback can’t be collected if participants use ApplePay, Android Pay, or otherwise pay using their phone.

To find out more about My School Fund and how it works, you can visit ESPO’s website. And, as a special thank you from Helen, Yasmin, and the ESPO team, you can also receive 10% off an order from Eduzone, when you use the exclusive Eduzone discount code: FAMLY10 (1 use per customer).

The big ideas

download pdf
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Official Danish Government Reopening Advice

Guidance from the Danish Health Ministry, translated in full to English.

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UK Nursery Covid-19 Response Group Recommendations

The full recommendations from a working group of over 70 nursery chains in the UK.

Please note: here at Famly we love sharing creative activities for you to try with the children at your setting, but you know them best. Take the time to consider adaptions you might need to make so these activities are accessible and developmentally appropriate for the children you work with. Just as you ordinarily would, conduct risk assessments for your children and your setting before undertaking new activities, and ensure you and your staff are following your own health and safety guidelines.

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