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Evaluation of Financial Education Scottish Primary and Secondary Schools




3.1 Financial education in Scotland is a 'cross cutting' theme within the Scottish Curriculum, which all schools will need to address from September 2008. The draft numeracy experiences and outcomes emphasise the need for young people to be confident in using the skills of numeracy in different aspects of life and work and are designed to encourage imaginative ways of teaching and learning. Contexts include:

  • managing money and financial planning;
  • understanding and managing earnings, benefits and credit;
  • managing a budget in household and work-related situations;
  • estimating and calculating;
  • reading timetables, calculating distances and journey times, reading maps;
  • interpreting information in a variety of graphs and tables.

3.2 When considering the draft numeracy outcomes related to money, teachers should reflect on existing practice and audit current work in their school or department and then to assess which outcomes are being currently delivered.

3.3 In 1999 the Scottish Consultative Council on the Curriculum, now Learning and Teaching Scotland, published the policy paper 'Financial Education in Scottish Schools: A Statement of Position'. This document provides guidelines for schools on the teaching of financial education.

3.4 It states that all young people should have opportunities to acquire financial capability and discuss ways in which it can be related to current curriculum structures and school practice.

"For young people, becoming financially capable…is one prerequisite for their personal and social wellbeing, for their developing roles as responsible citizens in an increasingly complex world and for success in their future working lives." (ibid, 1999, page 12)

3.5 The policy paper outlined a definition of financial capability based on understanding, competence, responsibility and enterprise and underpinned by 18 learning outcomes.

3.6 Developing each individual's financial capability, from early years through to aged eighteen, can enhance life chances and choices. It can help young people achieve the four purposes of Curriculum for Excellence, particularly in becoming responsible citizens and effective contributors to society and work.

3.7 Financial education takes place mainly through mathematics, personal and social education, business education and home economics; and there are also a number of examples where powerful messages have been delivered through literacy and drama.

3.8 Activities to develop financial capability, where outcomes not only benefit others but also encourage a sense of responsibility to the community and society as a whole, help young people to understand the connections between enterprise and active citizenship.

Financial Education and Scottish Economy

3.9 The Scottish Government has set out five strategic priorities:

  • Wealthier and Fairer Scotland;
  • Healthier Scotland;
  • Safer and Stronger Scotland;
  • Smarter Scotland;
  • A Greener Scotland.

3.10 Improving levels of financial education across Scotland is not only essential to the building of a strong, vibrant and competitive society but it helps in the process of regenerating Scotland's less advantaged communities, promoting economic and social justice and as such has a part in contributing to the following key National Outcomes the framework for which is established by the Scottish Government's Economic Strategy (Scottish Government, 2007):

  • We realise our full economic potential with more and better employment opportunities for our people;
  • We have tackled significant inequalities in Scottish Society;
  • Our public services are high quality, continually improving, efficient and responsive to local needs.

3.11 To achieve the National Outcomes, key national indicators - 45 in total - have been identified. Those relevant to this work include:

Indicator 2: Increase in business start-up rates;

Indicator 7: Increase the proportion of schools-leavers in positive and sustained destinations ( FE, HE, employment or training);

Indicator 9: Decrease the proportion of individuals living in poverty;

Indictor 41: Improve people's perceptions of the quality of public services delivered.

Financial Inclusion

3.12 Financial inclusion has been defined in recent Government Financial Inclusion Action Plans (Scottish Executive, 2005, 2007) as;

"access for individuals to appropriate financial products and services. This includes people having the skills, knowledge and understanding to make best use of these products and services…Financial exclusion is often a symptom of poverty as well as a cause." (Scottish Executive, 2005, page 4)

3.13 Financial exclusion is more pronounced in Scotland than in the rest of the UK with proportionately fewer residents having bank accounts and savings than in other areas of the UK (Scottish Executive, 2007).

3.14 The Scottish Household Survey ( SHS) provides the most comprehensive guide to economic and social conditions in Scotland, and allows an insight into the financial capability of its citizens.

3.15 The survey shows that the majority of Scots have access to banking services, but that a significant minority lack access to mainstream services and do not have any savings and investments. One in 3 households (37%) has no savings or investments, while half of those with savings can count on less than £5,000.

3.16 In June 2005, the former Scottish Executive launched its Financial Inclusion Action Plan, which revealed that 18% of low-income households have no bank account and that one in every 4 families in the bottom income decile has no assets. In addition, work undertaken by the Scottish Council Foundation ( SCF, 2005) also drew attention to the fact that the lack of saving in Scotland, particularly amongst poorer households, reflects a wider trend, and may act as an indicator of a lack of general financial literacy.

Financial Education Providers in Scotland

3.17 The provision of financial education across Scotland involves a range of providers and key delivery agents. While this evaluation focuses on the four main providers of financial education programmes, resources, training and materials - namely SCFE, Stewart Ivory Foundation, Financial Education Partnership - Chartered Institute of Banking Scotland ( CIOBS) and RBS MoneySense, there are more interested parties and activities on the ground offering financial education in schools.

Scottish Centre for Financial Education

3.18 The SCFE, part of Learning and Teaching Scotland, was launched in January 2002 and has the following aims:

  • encourage schools to develop programmes to meet the needs of all their learners in the context of Curriculum for Excellence;
  • develop the skills and confidence of teachers in financial education;
  • help schools embed financial education into the curriculum;
  • produce examples of good practice and disseminate them.

3.19 SCFE offers a wide range of continuing professional development ( CPD) opportunities for teachers. These range from school visits through to one day seminars and conferences. The SCFE is funded by the Scottish Government, the FSA and some financial services firms. The FSA provides funding as part of its National Strategy for Financial Capability.

3.20 The SCFE works in partnership with a wide range of organisations to provide resources for learning and teaching across the early years to 18 age range. These are distributed to schools through local authorities, with which the SCFE has worked in partnership to organise and deliver CPD.

3.21 Resources are also distributed at events such as seminars and conferences.

3.22 As a rule, SCFE does not send resources to schools unless teachers have been involved in their events. All SCFE resources have received the pfeg quality mark 3.

3.23 In a recent audit undertaken by the Financial Services Implementation Group ( FiSIG) 4 - Financial Capability Delivery Group, March 2008, the following financial education activities have been developed by SCFE working in partnership with a range of partners:

  • Talk Money, Talk Solutions was produced in partnership between the SCFE and Clydesdale Bank. The SCFE is working with Scottish local authorities in distributing this to every primary school in Scotland. The use of this resource in schools has been supported by continuing professional development ( CPD) opportunities for teachers.
  • The Specialist Schools and Academies Trust, working in partnership with Prudential, produced a resource for learning and teaching in English secondary schools called Adding up to a Lifetime ( AUTAL). Working with the SCFE, this resource has been adapted to suit the Scottish curriculum and over 800 copies have been distributed to secondary schools in Scotland.
  • The award-winning On the Money resource was produced in partnership between the Scottish Book Trust, SCFE and Standard Life. The SCFE is working with local authorities to distribute this resource to every primary school in Scotland.
  • Money Week is a themed week where every class in a school does work on issues related to money. This can, for example, involve young people working with parents, employees of banks and credit unions or setting up a "fair trade" tuck shop. The idea started in primary schools but has been adapted by a number of secondary schools across Scotland.
  • SCFE in partnership with Stirling Park delivered a number of CPD events for teachers to enable them to learn more about financial education to assist delivery in the classroom.
  • Young Enterprise Scotland's Financial Education Initiatives are delivered to both primary and secondary schools targeted at hard-to-reach and vulnerable young people. This is delivered in partnership with SCFE; SIO; More Choices, More Chances; Determined to Succeed and the Prince's Trust.

MoneySense - Royal Bank of Scotland

3.24 RBS in partnership with SCFE delivers MoneySense to schools throughout Scotland where students learn about personal finance, money management and enterprise skills.

3.25 In 2002, the SCFE distributed an interactive CD Rom 'Facing up 2 Finance' to all secondary schools in Scotland. This was developed in partnership between Learning and Teaching Scotland and Royal Bank of Scotland. Royal Bank of Scotland's Face 2 Face with Finance programme builds upon 10 years of experience accumulated by NatWest.

3.26 Face 2 Face with Finance has now been changed to MoneySense. The MoneySense programme teaches children important life-skills needed to manage money so that they can thrive in today's society. The programme has been developed in conjunction with teachers. The programme's four modules include online, interactive resources and activities to make each lesson engaging and relevant.

3.27 Lessons can be delivered by RBS staff or by teachers; six MoneySense regional coaches support schools in their regions. MoneySense is available to both primary and secondary schools; lessons can be delivered in a number of subjects including PSE/guidance, enterprise, maths, business education and home economics.

3.28 MoneySense has been delivered to over 1000 Secondary Schools in the UK including most of Scotland - estimated figures are of around 40,000 young people involved per year. MoneySense has educated 750,000 11-18 year olds to date. During 2007/08 RBS MoneySense was offered in 165 schools.

Financial Education Partnership

3.29 CIOBS runs the Financial Education Partnership ( FEP) and aims to give young people access to business experience and improve young people's ability to manage personal and business finance.

3.30 FEP is funded by Airdrie Savings Bank, Clydesdale Bank, Dunfermline Building Society, HBOS, Lloyds TSB Scotland, RBS and Standard Life.

3.31 The FEP runs workshops in 10 subject areas all relating to personal financial capability. The workshops are adapted to suit a range of age groups, from primary and secondary through to adult groups. The workshops are delivered by financial services professionals from the FEP's membership. As well as running the courses, workshop materials are made available for use by teachers.

3.32 All CIOBS services are provided for free. All financial education courses go through the same rigorous quality standards which apply to all CIOBS courses.

3.33 The target audience of FEP is primary and secondary school pupils. In an average year FEP complete around 650 visits to around 20,000 pupils, at about 1-3 hours per visit on average. During 2007/08 FEP completed 820 workshops and visited 150 schools.

3.34 FEP also deliver courses post-school in universities, colleges, to groups of the long-term unemployed and to socially and financially excluded groups around Scotland. In the last year there were approximately 50 such visits to around 1,500 people.

The Stewart Ivory Foundation Schools' Financial Awareness Programme

3.35 The Stewart Ivory Foundation ( SIF) was set up in 2000 to promote financial education in Scotland (Stewart Ivory Foundation, 2006) The Schools' Financial Awareness Programme started development in 2002.

3.36 The scheme is mainly focused on sixth year students and aims to give pupils knowledge of the issues of debt, budgeting, pensions, savings and investments. The programme is delivered by in-school teaching over three sessions by external experts. The team of financial education officers come from a background of either teaching or finance.

3.37 The programme plans to reach 185 schools in 2007/08, reaching more than 12,000 pupils and covering 50% of the Scottish Sixth form population, involving over 550 school visits. To date SIF have delivered financial education in 175 schools.

3.38 Jones (2007) has estimated that in 2007/08 the SIF programme cost approximately £100,000 which equates to a cost of £9 per pupil attending..

Mapping Financial Capability

3.39 The Financial Services Implementation Group ( FiSIG) - Financial Capability Delivery Group audit provides a useful mapping exercise of financial capability activity in schools and beyond in Scotland.

3.40 This has been a significant piece of work but was only a 'snap shot' of activity throughout the country, for example:

  • Citizens Advice Scotland ( CAS) Pilot Education Projects to vulnerable clients post-school in East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, East Lothian, Airdrie, Angus and Dumfries & Galloway;
  • Save by the Bell financial savings scheme in schools in Dundee sponsored by the Stewart Ivory Foundation;
  • Financial education delivered in schools in Glasgow, West Dunbartonshire, East Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, North Ayrshire, West Lothian, Renfrewshire and Western Isles - all supported by the Scottish Government's Financial Inclusion Fund;
  • Dunfermline Building Society's Money Detective initiative produced for primary schools in partnership with SE and Careers Scotland.

3.41 Scotland has a rich supply of financial education resources and providers of financial education programmes, over and above the main four providers identified in this research. The key issue is not the lack of any one particular resource or programme but one of effective delivery, how best can schools and teachers use the plethora of resources and programmes to meet the requirements of Curriculum for Excellence.


3.42 In summary:

  • Financial education in Scotland is a cross curriculum activity that has to be addressed by all schools from September 2008 and schools and teachers need to understand how financial education can meet draft numeracy outcomes within a particular subject area or across the curriculum.
  • Scotland has been at the very forefront of developing financial education and financial capability in schools.
  • Financial education contributes to the Scottish Government objectives of tackling financial exclusion and poverty and contributes to the wider economy and well being of the Scottish economy.
  • Partnership working between the SCFE and others, particularly from industry has been a significant factor explaining the wealth of resources and material available.
  • New providers and interested parties are now involved in the delivery of financial education in Scottish schools. This raises the risk of duplication and the need for greater co-ordination of activities.