Financial Education 3-5 Times More Effective Than Previously Thought

  • New report shows Financial Education programmes 3-5 times more effective than previously found.
  • The Money Charity has reached 215,000 Young People with Financial Education since 2010
  • – Just 1 Hour of their Money Workshops leads to significant increases in pupils’ financial knowledge and confidence. 

A new report, released today by The Money Charity, the UK’s Financial Capability charity, shows that Financial Education delivered using Active Learning Methods (ALMs), leads to big improvements in young people’s financial understanding. With the UK’s pupils returning to school this week, the charity is calling for more support in getting this vital subject the prominent and prioritised place on the Curriculum it needs. 

The report summarises a wide range of studies from around the world (Turkey, Uganda, South Africa, India, the Dominican Republic, Germany and the Netherlands) that tested the delivery of Financial Education using ALMs in randomised controlled trials (RCTs), the most robust evaluation technique available. The study of the RCTs showed an average positive effect 3-5 times higher than found in earlier studies, which drew on smaller pools of examples and used less rigorous evaluation methods. Some interventions using ALMs had even better results. 

ALMs involve the use of games, role-playing, discussions and debates, storytelling, goal-setting and other forms of emotional engagement, methods already used by The Money Charity and others across the UK.

The findings extend those of a 2018 independent evaluation of The Money Charity’s own Money Workshops in schools and colleges that showed that even one hour of Financial Education made a significant difference in pupils’ knowledge and confidence. The charity’s user surveys found that 90% of pupils attending workshops stated that they found them valuable, useful and believed they had learnt something new.

While Financial Education is already included within the UK Curriculum as a mandatory subject, it remains a neglected one, often bundled into PSE or Maths and dominated by a wider focus on numeracy. With schools and teachers under-resourced and under-supported in knowing how to deliver Financial Education in an accessible, engaging way, too many young people leave school unaware of the answers to important life questions such as what credit is, how to read a payslip, what a mortgage entails, and why a pension is something worth understanding!

As the UK’s young people return once again this week to school, they will do so having been arguably more exposed to the issue of household finances than ever before. Children will have seen more of their parent’s working lives than previously and families will have had to adjust to the pandemic’s financial impacts, whether good for the many families who have saved and paid off credit at unusually high levels, or bad for the high numbers of families whose finances have been hit hardest by the last year. Moreover, news coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic has frequently been dominated by financial topics, focusing on economic measures, financial support schemes and questions around wages and employment.

Michelle Highman, Chief Executive at The Money Charity says: 

“At The Money Charity, we have known for a long-time that practical, robust Financial Education, delivered through programmes such as our Money Workshops in schools, colleges, charities and community groups truly works. Engaging young people with learning that is interactive, accessible and fun is the best way to enable they develop the skills, knowledge, attitudes and behaviours they will need throughout their life to negotiate managing their money and making the big decisions which will so easily shape their coming years.

“It’s fantastic to have these new findings therefore, demonstrating without a doubt the importance and impact of our Financial Education work. We’re calling on more organisations to come forward with the support we need to keep meeting this need for the UK’s young people, as well as pressing for the Government and key education decision-makers to keep progressing the framework for, and the resourcing and prioritising of, Financial Education within the Curriculum.”

Notes to Editors

  • For over 25 years, The Money Charity has been the UK’s Financial Capability charity. We proactively provide education, information, advice and guidance to people of all ages, to reach our vision of seeing everyone achieving Financial Wellbeing by managing their money well. We empower people across the UK to develop the skills, knowledge, attitudes and behaviours to make the most of their money throughout their lives. Find out more at https://themoneycharity.org.uk/
  • To read or download a copy of the full report, just click here.
  • Since 2010, The Money Charity’s Money Workshops have been inspiring and educating thousands of KS3, KS4 and Post-16 young people with how to manage their money well throughout their lives. The Workshops are interactive, engaging and fun, with plenty of discussion and activities for all learning types. The Workshops are fully independent and impartial, with no promotion of brands or products, as The Money Charity believes giving people everything they need to make the best financial decisions for themselves and their families is key.