What the resource is:
The Personal Finance Education Group (pfeg) is an independent charity helping schools to plan and teach personal finance relevant to pupils' lives and needs. Their philosophy is underpinned by both government policy and independent reviews affirming the need for personal finance education.
The What Money Means micro-site sits within a much larger internet site which contains 98 resources and 50 case studies to support the learning and teaching of financial capability from 4 years to 18 years. This particular link directs users to What Money Means - for primary schools, which presents an overview of pfeg's programme to increase the quantity and quality of personal finance education in primary schools.
What Money Means is a five-year action research project initiated by pfeg in January 2007. The project is supported by HSBC with an investment of £3.4 million and involvement from thousands of volunteers from across the organisation who share their expertise by working alongside teachers in schools in the local community. The initial stages of the programme involved eight local authorities across England, but pfeg hope that by 2011, thirty-six local authorities will be part of the scheme. The aim is to create a bank of personal finance teaching resources and innovative techniques that can be used by all 17,500 primary schools in England.
The aims of the resource:
The aim of this micro-site is to provide support, by offering resources and case studies, to school teachers to enable them to become confident in teaching financial topics with children of primary age.
What Money Means itself has three aims:
- to increase the quantity and quality of personal finance education
- to increase the confidence and competence of those teaching it
- to involve bank staff in supporting local schools.
Key findings or focus:
The site provides a sound rationale for the teaching of personal finance education, and in the ‘Curriculum and Policy' part of the site, there are links to key policy documents and reviews relating to personal finance education.
Pfeg suggest that their aims correspond closely to the aims of the Independent Review of the Primary Curriculum led by Sir Jim Rose (2009). Indeed, ‘learning about money' is detailed in the programmes of learning for mathematical understanding and for understanding physical development, health and well-being.
Most importantly, this site provides a link to the What Money Means in Primary Schools resources. There is a direct link to a booklet What Money Means in Primary Schools: Opportunities to develop financial capability that can be viewed on line, which provides examples of real-life case studies. The case studies provide an excellent overview of a range of activities from Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) to Key Stage 2, identifying cross-curricular links where appropriate. Unfortunately, many do not have explicit links to the National Curriculum Programmes of Study which is a missed opportunity, however it could be argued that this is less significant in view of the Independent Review of the Primary Curriculum.
The case studies are detailed enough to enable a classroom practitioner to plan a similar activity for the children in their class. However, the value of the resource is enhanced if the supporting CD-Rom and DVD, containing classroom materials, suggestions for activities, units of work and planning tools are ordered from the website. Combined, the booklet, the CD-Rom and DVD provide a practical guide to a range of activities and materials that can be integrated across the curriculum, to inspire teachers to engage in personal finance education.
The quality, authority and credibility of the resource from your subject perspective in relation to ITE:
Despite the claim that the ‘What Money Means' materials are grounded in a research project which will be subject to systematic and ongoing evaluation from an independent external evaluator and feedback from pupils and teachers, there is no evidence of data collected so far. The materials are, of course, a good indicator of the success of the project so far, but a report outlining the methodology and an analysis of the current data would increase the credibility of the project.
The implications for ITE tutors/mentors:
The case studies could be used by ITE tutors as a stimulus for discussion on cross-curricular learning, the place of citizenship in the National Curriculum, or the place of personal finance education in the curriculum, especially in light of the Independent Review of the Primary Curriculum.
Alternatively, the activities described in the case studies could be used by ITE tutors as an example of good practice of cross-curricular learning, insofar as many of the case studies provide powerful, emotionally engaging learning experiences for children. Students could analyse a case study, and identify cross-curricular links and consider how these could enhance children's learning.
The resources could also provide a stimulus for undergraduate or postgraduate research projects across a range of subject disciplines.
The relevance to ITE students:
The website provides links to resources, both human and practical, that could support a cross-curricular unit of work or sequence of lessons. The activities could encourage collaborative and co-operative working in school, and enable students to demonstrate a creative approach to learning and teaching developing a range of pedagogies.
There is also a link to an associated site My Money. This is a further financial education initiative led by pfeg and funded by the DCSF which provides access to more free resources for primary and secondary schools.