Evaluation Scotland Wales
The UK Strategy for Financial Wellbeing is taking forward the work of the Financial Capability Strategy Opens in a new window


Evaluation of the School of Hard Knocks (SOHK) financial capability project

Evidence type: Evaluation i

Description of the programme

The sports initiative ‘School of Hard Knocks’ (SOHK) developed and integrated financial capability training in three schools in Cardiff and the Valleys. The aim was to deliver financial capability modules to vulnerable young people on the project and compare their improvements with similar cohorts to see whether the combination of financial capability and a sporting intervention produces greater results than financial capability on its own. The training was provided to young people aged 13 and 14 across three schools.

The study

SOHK commissioned Kada Research to undertake the evaluation. The evaluation sought to understand the effectiveness of SOHK interventions (a process review) and the outcomes for young people (an impact assessment). The former assessed the partnership and engagement process for the project and the latter the impact of financial capability training on young people as an integral part of SOHK sporting and mentoring interventions.

Kada Research selected three cohorts for the evaluation; the first was a SOHK group receiving both the sports (mainly rugby) and financial capability interventions (31 students); the second was a group of potential SOHK students receiving financial capability interventions only (26 students); and the third was a comparison group not receiving sports or financial capability interventions (54 students).

The evaluation used a pre- and post-intervention survey design to capture any changes in outcomes. A total of 107 students were tracked from baseline to the follow-up survey. Kada Research also undertook stakeholder interviews to assess the implementation and effectiveness of the project.

The three key project outcomes sought were as follows:

  • Improved financial capability.
  • Increased self-esteem, self-control and self-efficacy.
  • Improved ability to build social bonds.

Key findings

  • The study found a generally high awareness of the importance of saving money among all groups, although fewer young people are actually saving.
  • There was an improvement in the number of young people from all groups who could name three ways to pay for things.
  • There was generally a good understanding of price comparison as a means of getting a good deal among all groups. There have been some improvements over time in other areas such as buying non-branded goods.
  • The overall picture on keeping track of finances was quite encouraging among all groups and there were some improvements in terms of money planning.
  • While young people’s understanding of online safety varied between groups and the various aspects of security, they had a relatively good understanding overall.
  • SOHK participants showed the most obvious reported improvement in terms of handling their feelings. Approximately three quarters of all pupils were happy to do what was asked of them though many respondents claimed they got easily distracted.
  • All groups appeared to feel relatively positive about themselves, but in particular the Potential SOHK and SOHK Groups.
  • All groups were reasonably sure that their parents or guardians felt positive about them, but had much less confidence in relation to their teachers, especially the SOHK Group.
  • In terms of doing what they set their mind to, all groups are comfortable setting goals. In terms of achieving goals, the SOHK Group scored highest and improved. This is an area where the rugby training is likely to have had a noticeable effect.
  • Nearly all SOHK participants believed they were in control of creating a positive future for themselves, which was encouraging from a school perspective as well as the SOHK project’s perspective. In terms of social bonds, the SOHK and the Potential SOHK groups scored higher in terms of maintaining friendships.

Points to consider

Methodological limitations

  • The post survey was delivered a few months after the course, so the evaluation could only assess the short/medium-term effects of the project.
  • The engagement and co-operation of schools took some time and the schools’ performance data that the evaluator received was not comprehensive enough to make a clear assessment of improvements in behaviour and achievement.

Full report

Evaluation of the School of Hard Knocks (SOHK) financial capability project - full report

Key info

Client group
Programme delivered by
The School of Hard Knocks in association with Principality Building Society
Year of publication
Contact information

Kada Research