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Evaluation of Young Enterprise Northern Ireland’s ‘Ourselves’ and ‘Our Families’ Pilot

Evidence type: Evaluation i

Description of the programme

The pilot aimed to develop a scalable proof-of-concept model, building on the existing ‘Ourselves’ and ‘Our Families’ programme. It involved digitalisation of ‘Ourselves’ resources (videos, online game and quizzes, and a storybook), and uploading both programmes onto a new online Learning Management platform, branded “YE Academy”.

The pilot provided schools with individual pupil learner logins to complete online sessions, and a secure platform that hosted a teachers’ forum, where teacher training workshops introduced the programme.

The pilot was designed to help teachers support their pupils to develop financial capabilities and key life skills. Before the pilot, the programme was delivered mainly face-to-face in the classroom by volunteers.

The pilot tested a teacher-led model and explored whether digital resources could be used by teachers in the classroom, either for standalone delivery or as part of a blended learning approach, to complement the existing physical resources.

The study

Research published by The Money Advice Service (MAS) suggests that adult spending habits, including the ability to plan and delay gratification, are set by the age of seven. The study highlights the key role for parents/carers and teachers in promoting beneficial financial behaviour to young children. Delivered by YENI, the ‘Ourselves’ and ‘Our Families’ programme addresses this age group in seeking to promote such behaviour.

Ecorys conducted a process and outcomes project-level evaluation of ‘Ourselves’ and ‘Our Families’, which aimed to investigate:

  • Whether delivering ‘Ourselves’ and ‘Our Families’ digitally was equitable to face-to-face delivery, and equipped children aged five to seven with the language and confidence to engage with the concepts of money management and develop their financial education skills.
  • Whether teacher-led delivery was a viable alternative to volunteer-led delivery, to help increase the capacity of the programme to reach more children in the longer-term.
  • The extent to which ‘Ourselves’ and ‘Our Families’ increased teachers’ knowledge and confidence in teaching financial literacy and having conversations with children about money.

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 with teachers, and monitoring information provided by Young Enterprise Northern Ireland) and qualitative data (via online interviews with teachers, volunteers, and Young Enterprise Northern Ireland’s stakeholders).

Key findings

  • The pilot demonstrated the importance of using physical resources to engage children under seven, with a focus on flexibility in resource design and development.
  • The pilot demonstrated that it is possible to introduce effective financial education from a young age, while findings around the advantages of blending physical and digital resources, and of combining teacher-led delivery with inputs from volunteers, offer potentially valuable insights for future delivery of related programmes and approaches.
  • Findings from interviews with volunteers who had delivered the programme previously appear to confirm the potential value and benefits in engaging volunteers from external organisations to contribute to face-to-face delivery in future programmes of this type.
  • A blend of well-designed physical and digital resources can be highly effective in engaging children and helping to maintain and enhance their attention and focus through varying the delivery media of financial education.
  • Future development of the pilot should explore the development of pre-delivery familiarisation training or workshops, to gain insights from teachers and volunteers that could further shape the resources, including their suitability for use with different delivery set-ups (e.g. whiteboards), and to include specific training on the newer digital resources, enabling teachers to practice with them and determine how best to integrate them into lessons.

Points to consider

  • Methodological strengths/weaknesses: Outcomes evidence should be treated as indicative as the evaluation approach does not allow for conclusive attribution of outcomes to the programme.
  • Due to low response rates to the practitioner survey and low engagement with the evaluation by practitioners who attended network events, the findings may not reflect the full range of views of people who engaged with the pilot.
  • Generalisability/ transferability: This research is primarily of use to those working in the UK.
  • Relevance: This report is applicable to funders and providers of money guidance, and anyone with an interest in improving the quality of guidance services.

Key info

Activities and setting
Young Enterprise Northern Ireland’s ‘Ourselves’ and ‘Our Families’ is a financial education programme for primary school pupils under seven years, aiming to equip them with a basic understanding and awareness of financial literacy to underpin their subsequent financial education throughout school.
Programme delivered by
Young Enterprise Northern Ireland (YENI)
Year of publication
Northern Ireland
Contact information