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Cash Pointers Up Front

Evidence type: Evaluation i

Description of the programme

[This is an extract from the Executive Summary of the evaluation report. Further amendments may be made to this Summary, pending review by the Evidence Hub partner]

This report describes the outcomes evaluation and process evaluation findings for the Cash Pointers Up Front financial training programme. The project provided an intervention to improve financial capability for three groups:

  • Young people (aged 14-18) outside of mainstream education with diagnosed Learning-Language Difficulties (LLD) (Group A),
  • Young people (aged 16+) outside of mainstream education with below Level 1 education (without LLD) (Group B)
  • Young people (aged 14-18) outside of mainstream education (without LLD and not aged 16+ with below Level 1 education) (Group C).

The study

Cash Pointers Up Front delivered to 611 learners (462 learners were eligible for analysis due to age, data provision, and attendance eligibility) across 56 cohorts, in four different types of non-mainstream education settings: Special Educational Needs (SEN) schools; Training Providers (TP), Pupil Referral Units (PRUs) and Alternative Education Providers (AEPs). The project found a particularly high demand for the service among Further Education TPs. These settings provided a number of teaching challenges for delivery, including student behaviour and learning needs.

The intervention involved three workshops co-facilitated by a member of staff from 1625 Independent People (1625ip) and a Peer Educator. The project team recruited 22 volunteer Peer Educators with experience of a variety of financial challenges, including those linked to debt, crime and custody, substance misuse, unemployment and homelessness. Project staff facilitated the participation of the Peer Educators by developing an understanding of their support needs and by fostering a community through group work, social events, and social media.

Key findings

An outcomes evaluation,in collaboration with the University of Bath, found thatquantitative evidence supported the claim that young people’s attitudes to money and financial capability skills and knowledge were positively enhanced through a three-session peer-education-centred educational intervention. In general, students showed significant improvement both in a budgeting exercise (e.g., pre-post intervention scores for the total sample significantly [p <.01 improved from>M = .53 to M = .95 on a budgeting test scored from 0-1) and a financial concept matching exercise (e.g., pre-post intervention scores for the total sample significantly improved from M = 6.04 to M = 7.31 on a concept-matching exercise scored out of 10). In addition, for five self-report statements relating to financial behaviours, knowledge, attitude, and confidence students also showed significant improvement on all statements. Qualitative evidence further suggested improved financial attitudes including: thinking ahead and taking greater responsibility; awareness of others’ financial situations and needs; and feeling empowered to form their own opinions about financial issues.

Qualitative evidence also suggests that the specific teaching effects attached to the Peer Educator seemed to be powerful, motivating, and an important educational tool as a result of the impactful nature of Peer Educators’ stories. It also emphasised the respect young people held for such peers; the meaningful ways in which young people could relate to Peer Educators’ stories; and a sense of credibility and trust that the Peer Educator inspired.

A process evaluation, carried out by research staff from the University of the West of England, conducted interviews with the project team, key partners and with the Peer Educators. The evidence highlights the importance of dialogue in the commissioning process; the use of existing staff expertise and relationships both within the team and with partners and Peer Educators; and a reflexive approach, adjusting to challenges as they arose. The evidence collected emphasises the role of the Peer Educator, as especially important for building relationships with learners and as providing authentic and relatable accounts. Key to project success were flexibility in adapting lesson plans and working to fit with both school timetables and supporting Peer Educators through personal challenges as they arose. The evaluation points to potential process improvements, including: a clearer commissioning process; a longer planning period; an alternative to testing as an evaluation strategy; and follow up sessions to confirm learning and to support a longitudinal outcomes evaluation.

Points to consider

  • Limitations to the outcomes evaluation stemmed primarily form the relatively short duration of the intervention for reliably measuring learner progress, and the lack of opportunity to explore learners’ behaviour and choices following the sessions. Further longitudinal work is recommended in order to explore whether any effects gained are maintained and developed post intervention. The lack of a control group (for example with conventional teaching methods) means conclusions about the role of the Peer Educators are tentative.
  • Limitations to the process evaluation include small sample sizes for interviews, reducing the representativeness of comments from Peer Educators and key stakeholders. The process evaluation team also noted the challenges of having separate teams working on different related parts of the project and employing different methodologies. They recommend that further evaluation would consider both process and outcomes together.

Key info

Programme delivered by
1625 Independent People
Year of publication
Contact information