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Randomised controlled trial evaluation of The Money Charity's workshops in Schools

Evidence type: Evaluation i

Description of the programme

The Money Charity’s ‘Workshops in Schools’ cover aspects of money and finance and aim to increase students’ knowledge, confidence and skills in relation to money matters. They are delivered in hour-long sessions to classroom-sized groups by trained consultants.

During the autumn term of 2017 and early spring term of 2018, a total of 109 Money Workshops were delivered across schools, in areas of England, Wales and Northern Ireland where workshop consultants are based. A total of 4,423 students were booked onto these workshops. The trial focused on workshops on planning and budgeting (Workshop A) and savings and credit (B) at KS4; and student finance (A) or independent living (B) plus a workshop on savings, credit, banking and insurance (C) at post 16. Most schools took part in one workshop only (mainly Workshop A at KS4 and Workshop A at post 16). The Money Charity recruited and trained ten new consultants to deliver the workshops, and provided refresher training to five established consultants.

The study

This study aimed to explore the causal impact of the workshops on Key Stage 4 (KS4) and post-16 students’ behaviour, attitudes, confidence and knowledge relating to managing money. It also aimed to explore the quality and effectiveness of the workshops, the conditions necessary in schools to support the workshops, and the scalability of the approach.

The evaluation comprised a school-level randomised controlled trial (RCT), where schools that signed up to the trial were randomly allocated to either the intervention group (with workshops in autumn term 2017 and early spring term 2018) or the control group (as part of a ‘waitlist’ design, with workshops in spring 2018 after they had completed a follow-up survey).

A total of 59 schools took part in the trial, 30 intervention schools and 29 acting as controls. 3,543 students completed a baseline survey (developed as part of this evaluation); and 2,438 completed a follow-up survey (1,679 of whom had also completed the survey at baseline and were used in the ‘matched’ outcome analysis). As fewer schools than originally anticipated joined the trial, a combined analysis of KS4 and post-16 students was carried out to enhance the power of the analysis.

A process evaluation was also conducted involving:

  • Questions for intervention students in the student follow-up survey (718 respondents);
  • A survey of teachers (22 respondents from 20 intervention schools);
  • Observations of four workshops;
  • Telephone interviews with five consultants;
  • Six school visits each involving an interview with the key teacher involved and a focus group with students (around six students per group).


The main outcome explored whether The Money Workshops made a difference to students’ behaviours and attitudes towards money. Five secondary outcomes were:

  • Confidence with managing money;
  • Confidence talking about money;
  • Knowledge of savings and credit;
  • Knowledge of planning and budgeting;
  • Knowledge of ‘money’ (according to a knowledge score developed for this study).

Key findings

Outcome evaluation

  • There was no significant difference between the intervention and control group students’ attitudes and behaviours relating to money, which was the primary measurable outcome for the trial.
  • However, the Money Workshops had a significant positive effect on:
    • Self-reported confidence in managing money: 94% of students in the intervention group had a positive confidence rating at follow up compared to 79% at baseline.
    • Knowledge of savings and credit: 85% of students in the intervention group had a positive rating after the intervention compared to 79% at baseline.
    • There were no significant differences between participants in the intervention and control group regarding confidence talking about money or knowledge of money.

Process evaluation

  • It appears workshops were delivered in a positive and effective way. Feedback from over 700 KS4 and post-16 students, and 22 teachers from 20 intervention schools, showed that the workshops were easy to follow, provided new learning and were believed to be highly relevant particularly to students’ futures.
  • Students found the consultants to be highly knowledgeable and understandable.
  • Teachers reported benefits for their own capability to deliver financial education, as well as feeling the profile of financial education in the school had increased.
  • The workshops were delivered as intended, with very little adaptation, and were perceived by teachers to be high quality.
  • Money Workshops are free to schools and require only minimal time to book and set up. The delivery cost (without extra evaluation costs) is £200 per workshop.

Points to consider

Methodological strengths and limitations:

  • The authors acknowledge self-reported attitudes are used in places, as opposed to behavioural scores.
  • Statistical testing was employed, so we can be confident that where changes are reported they are significant (though they are not always shown to be significantly different from the control group.


  • This report is relevant to all stakeholders, charities and policymakers with an interest in financial education interventions among children and young adults, and particularly those looking to commission or facilitate ‘in-classroom’ interventions aimed at multiple cohorts of people.

Generalisability/ transferability:

  • The research is based on relatively strong numbers with a good geographic spread throughout most of the United Kingdom (excluding Scotland). Combined with the statistical testing, some of the findings can be generalised to the general population as indicative of ‘what works’ among this target group.

Full report

Randomised controlled trial evaluation of The Money Charity’s workshops in Schools - full report

Key info

Programme delivered by
The Money Charity
Year of publication
England, Northern Ireland & Wales
Contact information

Pippa Lord - [email protected]