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Financial education for 16 and 17 year olds pathfinder evaluation

Evidence type: Evaluation i

Description of the programme

The aim of the pathfinder was to understand how to scale financial education interventions for 16 and 17 year olds, in mainstream and non-mainstream settings in England, improving their money knowledge, skills and behaviours and empowering them to approach their finances with confidence in the future. This pathfinder programme aimed to generate new evidence to inform the delivery and scaling of financial education for this age group, of use to policymakers, funders, schools and/or delivery organisations.

Projects were delivered to young people during the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and associated school closures.

The partners employed three different delivery methodologies, categorised as:

  • Expert-led programmes, delivered directly to young people by education professionals who had undergone rigorous subject knowledge and programme training.
  • Trainer-led programmes, delivered directly to young people by professionals (in this case, primarily youth practitioners) who had received one day of light training on programme delivery and subject knowledge.
  • Teacher training support, whereby teachers were trained on methodology associated with financial education by financial education experts, and provided with an array of resources to support delivery.

The study

The evaluation sought to address the following research questions:

  • What is the relative difference in impact delivering financial education for 16 and 17 year olds through different methodologies and settings?
  • What are the implications for reaching and scaling impactful interventions for vulnerable groups?
  • What do the process findings from multiple organisations working collaboratively with shared ambitions on joint systems tell us about how financial education can be scaled nationally?

The evaluation used quantitative and qualitative analysis to explore the impact of the financial education interventions on beneficiaries and those working with them, and the effectiveness of the different delivery channels used, and to draw conclusions on a model for scaling up provision for this age group.

The findings from this evaluation are based on a mixed-methods approach including: an endline and baseline survey with 1,055 16 and 17 year olds; and qualitative work with all delivery partners, trainers, teachers, and young people.

Key findings

Overall, the evaluation found positive changes to young people’s financial mindset and ability outcomes.

Scaling financial education: trainer-led interventions (where youth practitioners are given tools and training to deliver financial education) can deliver positive outcomes for young people in mainstream settings.

To deliver expert- and trainer-led models at scale, financial education should be based on mandatory content, with flexible content responding to local contexts and young people’s interests; delivery partners collaboration should include the development of a consistent programme, the use of different partners to reach different groups of young people, a shared outreach approach, and clear routes to sharing best practice across the partnership; approaches and tools should and tools should support virtual delivery, helping providers reach more, and more diverse groups of, young people.

The needs of young people in vulnerable circumstances should be addressed through interventions delivered at scale.

Outcomes data was derived from baseline and endline surveys. The number of matched surveys used for the overall sample size satisfied the 90-95% confidence level when testing for statistical significance across scores.

Points to consider

  • Methodological strengths/weaknesses: The evaluation methodology was adapted in light of the significant impact of Covid-19: 3 month post-intervention surveys were removed, and comparison group descoped. The sustainability of outcomes cannot be measured, and there is no counter-factual.
    • There were no quotas or weighting applied to the data based on key demographics.
    • Due to the changes in delivery due to COVID-19 it was not possible to investigate implications for scaling cost-efficient impactful financial education programmes and there was limited data on how the programme reaches young people in vulnerable circumstances outside of mainstream education.
  • Generalisability/ transferability: The evaluation is of significant interest to those interested in delivering evidence-based financial education, with a particular focus on scaling these programmes.
  • Relevance: These interventions were tested in England, so transferral to other UK nations may need to account for differences in the financial education curriculum, or youth provision, in those nations.

Key info

Activities and setting
Pathfinder programme delivered across five projects in mainstream (schools, colleges and the National Citizen Service) and non-mainstream settings (primarily with young people with a hearing or sight impairment, and those with experience of care) between 2019 and 2021 to test approaches to delivering evidence-based financial education at scale.
Programme delivered by
A partnership of MyBnk, Learn by Design, Royal Association for Deaf People, The Money Charity and Young Money.
Year of publication
Contact information

Hannah Woods and Harry Odell, Trust Impact