Clubbing together

There are very few teachers' clubs, but staff at Theale Green comprehensive school near Reading have been running one for the past 14 years. In the past four years their assets have doubled from Pounds 50,000 to Pounds 100,000, and there is a waiting list to join the club.

The Theale Green club now has 50 holdings, including gilt-edged securities, premium bonds and company shares. Its 20 members make monthly contributions in multiples of Pounds 10 "units" which are paid by banker's order into its investment account. When the unit value increases (it now stands at just over Pounds 13), the number of units is also increased during the group's three-yearly valuations to get the value back down to Pounds 10.

Decisions are made by an investment committee of three, and three main meetings are held every year.

The summer meeting is the excuse for a garden party with business on the side. In October the group holds its annual general meeting, when officers are elected and any policy is established. This year the group decided to invest principally in demutualised insurance companies and building societies. The February meeting is mainly a report-back.

Dividends are reinvested, and shares are bought in Pounds 1,000 blocks. The value of the group's assets has been increasing by 20 per cent a year during the 1990s - "a hefty rate of return by anyone's standards", according to Brian Cottee, history and economics teacher at Theale Green, who is chairman of the investment committee.

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