Understanding how to embed and scale effective financial education professional learning
Evidence shows that learning and experiences in childhood are important influences on being able to manage and make the most of money in life. As such, teachers (alongside parents) play a key role in providing opportunities for young people to engage and learn about money, shaping their financial wellbeing as they grow into adulthood.
There is evidence to show that train the trainer approaches, including providing teachers with professional learning to help them deliver financial education, have potential to improve children and young people’s money skills, knowledge and behaviors. However, across the UK, teachers report having limited access to financial education training or professional learning and many say they lack knowledge and confidence in this area.
The Money and Pensions Service’s children and young people pathfinder programme funded five pathfinder projects between 2019 and 2021, to test approaches to delivering evidence-based financial education at scale.
The aim of this pathfinder was to understand how to establish a scalable and sustainable model for delivering financial education in Wales, providing learning for wider delivery across Wales and the rest of the UK. It tested two approaches:
- A cascaded trainer-led professional learning approach, in which teachers and staff from two Regional Education Consortia took part in financial education training to become volunteer trainers and then cascaded financial education professional learning to other teachers.
- An e-learning approach that teachers completed independently at their own pace.
The project was delivered by Young Money (on behalf of Young Enterprise) and two of the Regional Education Consortia in Wales (GwE and ERW). The evaluation was conducted by the University of Edinburgh Business School.
How to use this evaluation
We hope the findings will be useful for any policymakers, funders, schools, or delivery organisations who want to deliver or scale financial education professional learning to teaching professionals.
- Overall, the evaluation found positive changes to volunteer trainers’ knowledge, skills, and confidence to cascade professional learning to their peers. It particularly benefitted those who, prior to training, felt not at all knowledgeable, skilled, or confident.
- Teachers who either received the cascaded training or the e-learning option also experienced a significant and positive increase in knowledge, skill, and confidence to deliver financial education to their pupils.
- While the outcomes were similar between e-learning and the cascaded training, the cascaded training seemed to deliver additional benefits in terms of effective communication and explanation of the material and the use of resources and seemed to suit better the way in which teachers preferred to learn.
- Levels of participation among teachers was higher where the support and encouragement from the Regional Education Consortia (RECs) was stronger.
- There was recognition from stakeholders that the professional learning and resources fill a gap in teacher professional learning in Wales, and there is a desire for the digital resources to be available and to be maintained following the project.
- Both the cascaded trainer-led and e-learning approaches have the potential to support scaling up of financial education professional learning, albeit with different costs and reach.
- Training teachers to cascade professional learning in financial education to their peers can be effective where it is supported. Further exploration is needed to understand how this approach to professional learning could be embedded in other existing structures in the other UK nations.
- Engagement in professional learning needs to be actively encouraged to ensure the benefits can be experienced. There may also be merit in targeting early career teachers as well as teachers who already have, or are taking on, a leadership role that includes financial education.
- The professional learning resources need to be made available to teachers in a place where they would expect to find information on professional learning and teaching resources (e.g., Hwb in Wales), promoted and kept up to date in both Welsh and English.
- Sustainability and scalability of the professional learning relies on a holistic and coordinated approach to financial education professional learning at a national and regional level. Learning from this evaluation suggests that, at a national level, this requires a clear focus and emphasis on financial education professional learning, clearly signposted and accessible resources, with local regional support. The strategic professional learning implementation plan, developed to support the new Curriculum for Wales, may offer a route to identify organisations with subject specific knowledge that can provide financial education professional learning at a national scale.