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The impact of training teachers in financial education on the financial capability of the students they teach

Evidence type: Evaluation i

Description of the programme

Young Money delivered the ‘What Works for Financial Education’ (WWFE) project, which aimed to ascertain the extent to which training teachers to plan and deliver financial education impacts on the financial capability of the young people they teach. The project focused specifically on post-16 learners (KS5) and their teachers in schools in England, a group that had previously not been a focus in financial education teaching.

The study

Young Money commissioned a team at the University of Edinburgh Business School to conduct the evaluation of WWFE between September 2017 and February 2018. The research design comprised a multi-faceted randomised controlled trial among teachers teaching financial education to young people aged 16+ in 126 schools and colleges in England. The intervention consisted of Young Money’s teacher training in the following five themes:

  1. Fraud and identify theft;
  2. Financial planning and budgeting;
  3. Financial implications of work;
  4. Seeking financial advice;
  5. Choosing financial products.

Young Money provided teacher training to teachers from a random sample of 60 schools (Treatment group) and six Centres of Excellence (COE). A control group of teachers from a further random sample of 60 schools did not receive the training. Teachers in all groups, including the control group, were given free access to Young Money’s Financial Education Subscription Service to support their financial education teaching. Teachers in all groups then delivered financial education to their students over one term.

The evaluation comprised a mixed methods approach including a survey, interviews and focus groups. Matched pre- and post-surveys were completed by 101 teachers and 1,215 post-16 students from 93 of the 126 schools. The evaluators also conducted individual interviews with 20 teachers, six focus groups with post-16 students, and a survey and focus group with all eight consultants that delivered the training.

Key findings

Overall, the analysis confirms that training teachers to teach financial education does have a positive impact on teachers’ confidence and pedagogical practice:

  • Teachers that took part in the training were more confident in delivering financial education lessons and evaluating the effectiveness of them, compared to teachers who had not been trained.
  • The training had a positive impact on teachers’ pedagogical practice, in particular, leading to increased use of technology in financial education lessons and consideration of students’ religious and cultural characteristics. This ensured a greater likelihood that financial education lessons were tailored to the needs and characteristics of students.
  • The study found that teachers’ characteristics, such as length of teaching experience, prior experience of financial education teaching and teacher’s motivation for teaching financial education influence the impact of the training and the effectiveness of financial education.
  • Teachers appreciated access to resources and training. The provision of resources alone contributed to improving teacher confidence and student outcomes.
  • The training has had relatively less impact on the confidence and teaching practice of COE teachers, largely due to those teachers having more experience of financial education at the start of the project through their involvement in the Centres of Excellence programme.
  • Students that were taught by teachers trained in financial education were significantly more confident in managing money. The effect of the training was seen in all five themes, particularly strong in the themes of fraud and identity theft, seeking financial advice and choosing financial products. Students that were taught by teachers that took part in the financial education training were much more likely to have made changes to the personal information they share online, engaged in saving, and sought advice on student loans.

Points to consider

Methodological considerations

  • The timeframe inhibited some schools from fully participating and led to drop-outs throughout the process, resulting in a reduction in data as the evaluation depended on teachers and schools completing pre- and post-surveys
  • Some schools were unable to deliver their financial education during the short timeframe and, despite otherwise participating in the project, could not be included in the evaluation due to missing post-intervention surveys.

Full report

The impact of training teachers in financial education on the financial capability of the students they teach - full report

Key info

Programme delivered by
Young Money
Year of publication
Contact information

Tina Harrison, Caroline Merchant, and Jake Ansell (University of Edinburgh)