Guest blog by Russell Winnard, Head of Programmes and Services at Young Money.
Financial education for all children and young people is a crucial part in developing the financial capability of the UK. The tools, resources, support, training and investment required to realise this cannot be done by any one organisation on their own, and has to be approached collaboratively. Young Money (formerly pfeg) have worked in partnership with Money Advice Service for many years, and this collaborative approach has initiated programme innovation, trialling, and an enhanced focus on impact measurement.
Within the world of financial education, evidence and evaluation are becoming increasingly important. Teachers are stretched for time, the curriculum time is limited and therefore it is crucial to know exactly what works and what doesn’t. Three of our programmes with a focus on evaluation are ‘Maths in Context’, ‘The Quality Mark’ and the ‘What Works for Financial Education’ project.
Our What Works Fund project is one of over 60 projects funded by the Money Advice Service which tests different approaches to financial capability in the UK. The Young Money project builds on the APPG on Financial Education for Young People’s most recent finding that 58% of teachers would like to receive more training on how to teach financial education. The What Works Fund project aims to establish to what extent training teachers in the development and delivery of financial education impacts the financial capability of the young people they teach.
The project is working with 120 schools across the UK. Half of the participants (the treatment group) will receive training and resources, whilst the other half (the control group) receive access to resources only. We are working with Edinburgh University Business School to evaluate the project, and determine the extent to which providing training for teachers impacts on the financial capability of the students they go on to teach.
Last year Young Money provided financial education training to over 1,400 teachers. Following the training, 92% of teachers reported they were now likely to deliver financial education in their schools. This is a great start but we look forward to the results of the What Works Fund project which will establish what the impact of this training then has on the students those teachers teach.
The Financial Education Quality Mark is a UK wide recognised accreditation system for financial education resources. Anyone developing financial education resources to be used with children and young people can opt to put their resource through the Quality Mark process, ensuring they are educationally and financially accurate and up to date.
In 2016 the Money Advice Service began supporting the Quality Mark, and since then we have been working with them to support resource producers in evaluating the impact of their resource. For example, the Money Advice service will help resource producers to develop a Theory of Change for their resource and help to identify relevant outcomes which could be measured as part of an evaluation. The benefit of this for resource producers is that they will gain important feedback on the effectiveness of their resource, and potentially how it could be developed in the future, while users of the resources benefit from having high quality resources which are maintained and developed over time, ensuring they continue to be relevant and engaging.
The Education Endowment Foundation and Money Advice Service have partnered to support Young Money in delivering our Maths in Context research project. This 130 secondary school randomised control trail aims to test whether teaching GCSE mathematics in a greater financial context can improve mathematical attainment as well as develop the financial capability of students.
This trial follows a small scale study conducted with 26 London schools. This pilot found that delivering specific areas of the mathematics curriculum using a greater financial context led to an increase in attainment of approximately 18% on those GCSE questions which used a financial context. The Maths in Context project has scaled up this study, with an evaluation conducted by the University of Nottingham. This is a longer term evaluation, with results due in 2020, but we hope they will contribute to the body of evidence behind financial education.
At Young Money we look forward to sharing our financial education findings. We will continue to work closely with anyone looking to develop financial education resources, and to ensure a high level of quality through the Financial Education Quality Mark. Most importantly, we will continue to work collaboratively with Money Advice Service, and others involved in financial education, to ensure we continue to improve the overall provision for all children and young people.