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Eight ways your business can make an immediate contribution to financial education

Posted on Thursday, February 16th, 2017

The World Economic Forum includes financial literacy (alongside literacy, numeracy and ICT) as one of six core ‘foundational literacies’ essential for students to thrive in the 21st-century economy. Supporting the next generation to manage money is not only vital in securing their future, but also the future of UK business and the wider economy.

Despite widespread recognition of the importance of financial education, 70% of students leave formal education in the UK having never had a properly structured lesson on how to look after their money. This is despite the fact that the subject has been statutory in the secondary school curriculum in England since 2014; and in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland earlier than that.

Additionally, teachers want and need outside help – two thirds believe that their schools lack the skills required to teach the subject.

So what can your business do to best support young people and their educators and improve the financial literacy of your future customers and employees?

Our Inspirational Learning Team and financial education experts have identified eight areas that need immediate outside investment and expertise. We see these as real potential growth areas over the next three years and beyond.

If you’d like to discuss how your business can make an impact in one of these areas, or anything else to do with financial education and your business, please email Will at: wmoody@nationalschoolspartnership.com

Eight ways graphic


1. Provide high-quality training to both primary and secondary school teachers
Work needs to be done to give teachers the knowledge, skills and confidence to teach financial education. Now that HSBC’s acclaimed ‘What Money Means’ teacher-training programme has finished, there is a need for someone to pick up the mantle and extend the training to secondary school teachers. Face-to-face and e-learning are a great way to target both existing teachers and those in training. Your businesses might want to focus on what you know best, or take on the bigger challenge to offer a wider training programme covering all aspects of financial education.

What could this look like?

  • A UK-and-ROI-wide CPD programme ensuring that every primary and secondary teacher feels confident to teach financial education – interactive and experiential training allows teachers to ‘learn by doing’ and feel inspired
  • MOOCs provide free access to high-quality training at all levels anywhere anytime, harnessing innovative learning techniques such as blended learning (mixing practical and digital tasks) and peer-to-peer/social learning
  • Online teacher networks and digital community groups excite, inform and inspire, allowing the sharing of best practice amongst teachers across the world
  • Through specialist training focusing on key cohort groups, e.g. SEND (special educational needs and disabilities), teachers develop the skills to support all pupils, including those most in need

2. Provide direct delivery to schools by outside experts
With 90% of teachers believing that “pupils learn about personal finance better from speakers with specialist knowledge” 7, there is real scope for your business to share your expertise. You could sponsor and expand an existing programme run by a financial charity, or create longer term impact through your own sustainable volunteer programme.

What could this look like?

  • Through the use of digital platforms, volunteers engage and inspire pupils, e.g. through live chats and interviews, Google Hangouts, Skype, increasing reach to all pupils with computer access (at home or in school)
  • In fast-paced interactive workshops combining financial understanding with exciting learning trends (e.g. enterprise, project-based learning), students are challenged to solve problems and make financial decisions.
    Potential topics could include: Insurance – the effect of flooding; Mortgages vs rent; How to spot a good deal

3. Leverage credibility as a business to campaign for the importance of financial education
A key recommendation of the Financial Capability Strategy is “publicising to schools and Further Education colleges why they should, and how they can, deliver financial education that works”. Your business can use your status as a reputable financial institution to highlight the need for financial education and raise its profile. Commissioning research into what works well determine which are the most effective interventions, so that best practice can be shared and publicised.

What could this look like?

A national multi-channel media campaign exciting parents, teachers and students about the importance of financial education. Examples could include:

  • Making retirement planning more exciting through a ‘Where will you be?’ campaign, using celebrity involvement and pupil-focused content on social media such as bitmoji cartoons and vlogs
  • Young people are challenged to design a campaign (e.g. online privacy, debt management, avoiding scams), with the winners getting the chance to make it happen

Brand equity is enhanced through the findings of a report commissioned into what works well in financial education, using a call to action to position business as a leader in the financial education space

4. Provide support for school senior leaders to embed financial education in their schools
While teachers recognise the importance of financial education, evidence suggests that this enthusiasm is not shared by school senior leaders, who have more say in what the school teaches its students.7 Leaders would benefit from support in ensuring a whole-school approach to financial education to guarantee that it is solidly embedded in the curriculum across all age phases and throughout the curriculum.

What could this look like?

  • Volunteers support senior leaders through one-to-one mentoring / coaching
  • School leaders are supported by an online course containing audit and planning tools
  • Online forums and webinars build senior leaders’ confidence and financial education knowledge
  • A nationally recognised benchmark for implementing a whole-school approach to excellent financial education is developed in collaboration with organisations such as pfeg and all schools are encouraged to strive towards this

5. Establish a supported network of financial education ‘champions’
The All Party Parliamentary Group on Financial Education for Young People recommends that “schools should be encouraged to appoint a financial education champion…to co-ordinate and promote learning and training”.1 Businesses could sponsor a ‘champion’ programme, providing training and support for champions to enable them to share best practice across a network.

What could this look like?

  • Brand awareness is increased through sponsorship of a ‘champion’ network and creation of a digital platform, providing training and support. Champions are recruited and rewarded, enjoying a high profile through digital badging and certification.
  • Media excitement about the relevance and importance of financial education is created through the sponsorship of regional / national annual conference

6. Create initiatives to help schools engage and upskill parents
80% of 15-18 year olds view parents and family as their main source of financial understanding, yet there is little training and content produced to support parents in this area. Initiatives aimed at helping schools to build parents’ confidence in managing their own finances, and teaching these skills to their children, would prove valuable.

What could this look like?

  • Designed using the brand personality, look and feel, an interactive MOOC builds parental confidence and knowledge in financial literacy
  • An innovative tracking app helps families track what they spend, creating alerts for overspend, and providing incentives for meeting saving goals
  • Engaging content, developed in collaboration with credit unions and collaboratives, informs parents of money management options and best ways to communicate financial knowledge to children of different ages

7. Engage and excite students about financial capability through a large-scale competition
Competitions can be great motivators for young people, especially if exciting prizes are offered. Students’ financial skills and knowledge can be developed and applied through a creative challenge, with strong PR opportunities, again raising the profile of financial education across the UK and ROI.

What could this look like?

  • In a large-scale, high-profile competition, students are challenged to put their financial knowledge to the test, e.g. Design the payment technology of the future
  • Schools are encouraged to collaborate with, or compete against, schools in other areas or even other countries

8. Target programmes or resources at specific cohort groups
While financial education resources exist, research flags several groups who receive even less financial education than average or find it more difficult to access existing resources, e.g. 3-11 year olds, 17-18 year olds, female students, students of a lower socio-economic background, children in care. There are also opportunities to create resources that acknowledge religious differences about loans and borrowing.

What could this look like?

  • Students use virtual reality technology to take on real- life roles in an exciting digital game focusing on situations likely to be faced by young people starting to live independently from their parents and the financial decisions they will face, e.g. renting a flat, taking out a loan, saving and budgeting
  • A programme specifically targets students of a lower socio-economic status, linking them with mentors from industry with the aim of raising careers aspirations and building fundamental skills, as well as financial knowledge, e.g. welfare support available, the pitfalls of pay day loans

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