England, United Kingdom

The National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) has undertaken an independent evaluation of the Learning Money Matters (LMM) initiative on behalf of the Personal Financial Education Group (pfeg). LMM provides help, support and advice for secondary schools in England in delivering personal financial education (PFE) to their students. The evaluation report was released in September 2009.

Methods

The evaluation design was based on four methods:

  • • an analysis of the pfeg database to identify how representative the secondary schools who participate in the initiative are of all secondary schools in England;
  • • two telephone surveys with sample schools to gain a broad picture of the effectiveness and impact of LMM;
  • • case-study visits to selected schools; and
  • • telephone interviews with pfeg consultants.

Evaluation findings

The following key findings are quoted directly from the evaluation report (Spielhofer et al, 2009).

  • • The research underlines the ongoing need in schools for the support provided by pfeg through LMM. Delivery of Personal and Financial Education (PFE) remains variable across schools, with many schools not yet delivering lessons to students in all year groups in an effective way. Furthermore, 3 690 schools and colleges - that is over 53 per cent of all providers - had not yet been involved in LMM by the end of June 2009.
  • • The majority of teachers are very satisfied with the support provided by pfeg consultants. They particularly value consultants’ knowledge of financial topics, resources and curriculum requirements, their professionalism and their flexibility in responding to the needs of the school and students.
  • • Involvement in LMM often acts as a catalyst to encourage teachers to initiate or expand the teaching of PFE in their schools. However, this encouragement needs to be supported within schools by senior management buy-in, sufficient curriculum time and enthusiastic and motivated teaching staff in order to ensure the successful and sustained delivery of PFE.
  • • The main barriers to the successful delivery of PFE in schools include other competing curriculum demands, lack of time to prepare and coordinate delivery, and difficulties in finding staff that are interested, confident and enthusiastic about teaching PFE.
  • • PFE lessons have a noticeable impact on students’ attitudes towards saving and borrowing, their confidence in dealing with money and their views on being taught about finance at school. The study also identified an impact on students’ knowledge of finance and financial products in some schools.

The evaluation report provides recommendations for actions based on the key findings. These are that:

  • • ongoing support is provided to schools involved in LMM;
  • • ways to foster and strengthen ongoing commitment to PFE within schools be considered;
  • • promoting the value and importance of PFE to all schools and colleges; and
  • • developing a good practice guide that consultants can share with schools.

“The study has shown that LMM has encouraged many schools to make considerable progress towards implementing a stronger platform for PFE learning, in particular, by helping them to develop appropriate teaching approaches and resources. However, it has also highlighted that more needs to be done not only to sustain and improve the teaching of PFE in existing LML schools, but also to extend and embed effectively to a broader range of schools.

There is a danger that without the continued support provided by pfeg, through initiatives such as LMM, that the gains made in securing a PFE entitlement for all students in schools will be lost” (Spielhofer, et al. 2009).

 
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