New financial literacy program seeing promising results

New financial literacy program seeing promising results

More school students now have access to vital financial education, with over 560 schools across Australia registering for a new financial education program, which launched in February this year.

The program, Talk Money with Ecstra Foundation, is designed to help Australian school students learn money lessons for life, be confident talking about money and make informed financial decisions.

With 100,000 school bookings confirmed, the program will deliver a total of 3,130 workshops by the end of the school year. Registrations for Term 1 and 2 2023 are already strong.

Ecstra’s CEO, Caroline Stewart says ensuring better access to quality, independent financial education is crucial.

“In a challenging economic climate with increasing concerns about cost of living, providing young people with foundational money skills at key life stages will help them now, and prepare them for their financial futures,” Stewart said.

Pilot evaluation data collected from February to July shows the positive impact the program is making on students’ money attitudes and skills.

“Feedback from students and teachers has been very positive – 88 per cent of teachers say their students’ knowledge of money improved after attending the workshops. Students report increased knowledge and positive intentions on topics including savings, spending influences and managing tax and super."

The facilitator led workshops are offered in person or virtually for Years 5-10, are aligned to the Australian curriculum and the National Consumer and Financial Literacy Framework, and provided at no cost to schools.

"The importance of talking to kids about money and helping them to develop good financial habits early in life has been a consistent theme throughout my many years of championing financial literacy in Australia,” Ecstra’s Chair, Paul Clitheroe AM, said.

“Talk Money is an invaluable initiative because it provides our teachers, who already are so busy, with the tools to engage students with practical money and finance concepts that can also be shared at home."

The program is open to all schools across Australia, with priority access for schools with ICSEA* scores <1,000, who often include students experiencing disadvantage. 

“We know from our survey of over 2,000 Australians that financial education is highly valued, with ninety-four per cent of parents and teachers, and 89 per cent of students saying it is important to learn about money and finance. Ninety-eight per cent of parents agreed financial education should be taught in schools,” Stewart said.

“Our decision to launch a new program for schools is clearly proving very timely, with over 100,000 student bookings in our first year.”

Stewart said the company expects bookings to grow substantially based on demand from schools, including in rural and regional areas. 

“In addition, we believe it is particularly important for schools with ICSEA scores less than 1,000 receive priority access, as financial education is a key measure to helping break the cycle of disadvantage.”

Talk Money has been developed in collaboration with a financial education advisory group, including representatives from financial counselling, youth mental health, teachers and academics.

“Financial literacy is an essential part of young peoples’ learning and something that we have to get right. It is embedded in the Australian Curriculum in multiple areas including maths and economics,” Allan Dougan, CEO of the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers (AAMT) and member of the advisory group said.

“Programs such as Talk Money provide a rich and secure backdrop against which students can explore the financial thinking and decision making required in their complex world.”

Dougan said offering external programs means schools and teachers can choose the resources and workshops that best fit their scheduling and student needs.

“These programs are a great opportunity for teachers to build their confidence in this complex area.”

The original version of this article was published as a media release by Ecstra Foundation.