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Evaluation of the Scotland’s Financial Schools pilot

Evidence type: Evaluation i

Description of the programme

The Children and Young People Financial Education Innovation and Evaluation Programme was commissioned by The Money and Pensions Service in October 2020. It aimed to address gaps in the wider understanding of effective financial education by developing and evaluating new, innovative solutions, or by evaluating existing but untested interventions.

Young Enterprise Scotland’s (YES) Scotland’s Financial Schools programme was one of seven pilot projects funded, and was one of two which focused on digital delivery. The project aimed to engage teachers in educational settings by providing them with online support and digital resources to help improve the delivery of financial education across the curriculum. It was hoped that these activities would improve attitudes, knowledge, and confidence amongst teachers, and encourage them to champion and promote financial education, within their settings via a teacher cascade model.

The study

Ecorys conducted a developmental, process and outcomes project-level evaluation of Scotland’s Financial Schools programme between January-August 2021. The evaluation aimed to investigate:

  • whether the pilot project equipped teachers and headteachers with the necessary tools and knowledge to improve financial education in schools; and
  • what appetite and need for better financial education across Scotland existed, and the extent to which the project met that need.

The evaluation first involved developing a Theory of Change with the project team, to outline the anticipated activities, outputs and outcomes for the pilot. The evaluation used a mixed methods approach: collecting quantitative data (via a pre- and post-survey of teachers who attended YES’s online training and monitoring information provided by YES (including post-training feedback they collected); and qualitative data (via online interviews via MS Teams with teachers and stakeholders from financial and education services and YES).

Key findings

  • Partner stakeholders and teachers agreed that financial education provision across Scotland could be improved, given the sporadic nature of current delivery. They generally believed that the provision of accessible, quality resources would effectively improve provision to an extent; however, they cautioned of a risk that only the more engaged schools will participate. They recommended that YES should consider reaching out to the less-engaged schools to ensure that the resources are able to support them overcoming the unique barriers they face in providing better quality financial education in their settings.
  • Teachers who participated in the pilot found the online training and resources useful. They reported feeling more confident in delivering financial education to children and young people, supporting existing evidence that attending training can make a significant difference to teacher confidence.
  • However, the low response rate and lack of assessment of outcomes for children and young people meant that the pilot did not generate enough evidence to show whether Scotland’s Financial Schools equipped teachers and headteachers with the necessary tools and knowledge to improve financial education in schools. A longer timeframe is needed to fully assess how useful the training has been, and the impact of the resources on children and young people and the delivery of financial education in schools.
  • Few teachers reported that they would try to influence whole-school change following the training, and so further research was recommended to assess the effectiveness of the teacher cascade model and what, if any, the barriers are in getting buy-in from school leaders.
  • The pilot was able to demonstrate that the online mode of delivery was an effective and accessible way of engaging teachers from a range of locations across Scotland, who were able to fit participation in the project around their existing commitments. Having the ability to access free resources online was also felt to be an important way to make teaching financial education more accessible for teachers with a range of experience.

Points to consider

  • Methodological strengths/weaknesses: Fewer teachers engaged in the online training than planned (153 against a target of 300), and the post-survey and interview sample sizes were small, somewhat limiting the reliability of findings. The longer-term impact of the training on the delivery of financial education in schools is not covered within the scope of this evaluation.

  • Generalisability/ transferability: The intervention was tested in Scotland, so transferral to other UK nations may need to account for differences in the curriculum and education delivery in those nations.

  • Relevance: The evaluation is of interest to anyone with an interest in developing the confidence of teachers to deliver financial education.

Key info

Activities and setting
Project activities included online training delivered via webinars and self-directed e-learning modules for teachers. The modules illustrated how to incorporate financial education across the curriculum in teachers’ settings.
Programme delivered by
Young Enterprise Scotland (YES)
Year of publication
Contact information

Ecorys [email protected]