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National Curriculum

Planning and assessment in economic wellbeing and financial capability


Planning across the key stage

The key stage 4 programme of study for economic wellbeing and financial capability is the basis of the work-related learning, enterprise and financial capability elements of the key stage 4 curriculum. It builds on the key stage 3 programme of study, offering the opportunity to plan a coherent curriculum that helps young people to develop the concepts, processes and understanding that will equip them for the adult world.

When reviewing planning across the key stage, developing new sequences of work or revising existing ones, you should consider the following.

Do your plans develop the students' knowledge and understanding of the key concepts in an organised, systematic and rigorous way?

The key concepts underpin the study of economic wellbeing and financial capability. Students need to understand these concepts in order to broaden and deepen their knowledge, skills and understanding relating to their career, enterprise and financial capability. Planning needs to highlight how the key concepts are integrated into teaching and learning across the key stage. For example, students should be given the opportunity to study and experience a range of situations that will enhance their understanding of the key concepts.

Students should be taught how to construct their own analyses and explanations. As they progress, their explanations will become more complex, identifying and assessing the relative importance of different factors and showing explanatory links between causes and effects.

Do your plans enable students to become more proficient in the essential skills and processes of economic wellbeing?

When students revisit the key processes at different points in the key stage, there should be a clear increase in demand to ensure that they continue to be challenged and make progress. This could be achieved by students employing their skills in an expanding range of contexts, including those that are unfamiliar, applying those skills to more complex questions and ideas and using them with increasing independence. For example, across the key stage students will study career development, enterprise, and financial capability through a range of activities and experiences. Students practise and develop enterprise capabilities in the context of their own lives and in a business context.

As they progress, students will devise and refine their own activities and investigations, developing their own hypotheses and selecting and deploying evidence to reach and justify their own conclusions.

Do your plans take a balanced approach to career development, enterprise and financial capability?

The programme of study for economic wellbeing and financial capability is composed of three aspects that impact on young people’s development towards adult life – career development, enterprise and financial capability. These should all be represented fully in the curriculum. They may be the responsibility of people with different expertise and can be timetabled in a variety of ways. A carousel strategy means that human resources can be used most effectively although some parts of the programme might best be dealt with in off-timetable days.

Do your plans embed economic and business ideas into learning throughout the programme of study?

The range and content of key stage 4 economic wellbeing and financial capability seeks to embed some economic and business ideas into the three aspects covered in the programme of study. These help young people to analyse events and situations in each field and to demonstrate how they are inter-related. Planning should therefore seek to incorporate ideas such as the relationship between competition, price and profit into each area as well as considering the moral and social dilemmas about the use of money. Risk and reward should also feature across the various areas of economic wellbeing and financial capability.

Continuity across the key stages

To make good progress students need continuity and opportunities for development across the key stages. To achieve this, curriculum planning at key stage 4 needs to:

  • build on and extend students’ achievements and experiences at key stage 3

  • provide students with a clear sense of how teaching and learning is helping them develop their knowledge, skills and understanding, and of what they are aiming to achieve by the end of the key stage

  • prepare students for the demands of further study in the subject or the world of work.

Key stage 3

The economic wellbeing and financial capability programme of study for key stage 3 builds on the knowledge, skills and understanding that students acquire during key stage 2. Progression in economic wellbeing and financial capability is achieved by integrating the key concepts, key processes and content in order to develop students’ understanding of enterprise, financial capability and employability.

Progression during key stage 3 is characterised by:

  • acquisition of an increasing range and depth of knowledge, and the ability to make links and connections between different aspects of the programme of study

  • deepening understanding of the key concepts

  • greater understanding and proficiency in the use of key processes

  • an increasing ability to apply skills and conceptual understanding across a variety of contexts

  • an increasing ability to communicate knowledge and understanding using language appropriately and accurately

  • increasing independence in learning across a variety of situations.

During key stage 3 students learn to take increasing responsibility for the choices they make for learning, leisure and work. They learn to use a creative and enterprising approach to exploring possible futures for themselves, based on a growing awareness of their personal characteristics and their situation. They are introduced to career development and enterprise skills, and to financial capabilities, all of which will enable them to understand their emerging identity, make sense of their own story and their role in the adult world.

Through their learning and experiences inside and outside school students begin to understand the nature of the world of work. When learning for, about and through work, they recognise the contribution of, and draw on, other subjects, extra-curricular activities and the general life of the school. Students use the methods, perspectives, forms of explanation and modes of presentation used in different subjects to develop their thinking about enterprise, work and careers.

Key stage 4

The knowledge, skills and understanding that students acquire at key stage 3 are developed in key stage 4. Progression can be identified by a more sophisticated approach to understanding and the practical experiences of economic wellbeing and financial capability.

Career development builds from key stage 3 by looking at post-16 routes into further education, employment and training. At key stage 4 students explore types and structures of businesses in addition to roles and identities at work introduced in key stage 3. Personal budgeting at key stage 4 develops from key stage 3 with the inclusion of taxation, credit and debt. Economic and business concepts in this key stage include markets as well as competition, price and profit.

Students will be undertaking enterprise activities as they did in key stage 3 but the conclusions that they draw will be informed by the additional processes and content of the key stage 4 programme of study.

During key stage 4 many students will be engaged in work experience. This provides a wealth of opportunity to draw together many of the strands of economic wellbeing and financial capability. It is essential that students are well prepared and debriefed effectively if work experience is to be worthwhile. Mapping students’ work experience against the programme of study will ensure that the links and connections that enhance the experience are perceived; and will ensure that students’ understanding of the range and content, and their ability to use key processes, are fully developed.

New opportunities

Increased coherence

The programme of study for economic wellbeing and financial capability draws together enterprise, work-related learning and financial capability. Also covered are key business and economic ideas that underpin all aspects of the programme. As economic wellbeing and financial capability is likely to be encountered in a variety of ways in schools, the new programme of study offers the opportunity for schools and young people to see the connections between these areas of knowledge and processes.

Improving employability

The economic wellbeing and financial capability programme of study draws together the key factors that help to develop employability. By bringing together careers education, work-related learning and an understanding of the workings of finance, business and the economy, young people are placed in a better position to understand how they can develop the knowledge, skills and qualities they will need to thrive in their future working lives.

Developing enterprise capabilities

As well as giving students an insight into how business works, enterprise capabilities help them to develop ‘can-do’ attitudes to other aspects of their lives. The programme of study encourages this approach to learning through economic wellbeing and financial capability and through other curriculum subjects. The new programme of study provides opportunities to use and develop the mix of existing strategies including off-timetable days to run events, mini-enterprise activities, and involvement in business beyond the school. The role of social enterprises can also be explored.

Enterprise activities enthuse and engage students. Because they tend to be memorable, these activities inspire learning and help young people to see their potential role in the adult world.

Developing self-esteem and self-efficacy

Approaching adult life can be challenging for many young people. Many aspects of the economic wellbeing and financial capability programme of study involve strategies for developing self-esteem and self-efficacy. The development of students’ enterprise capabilities and their ability to envision a positive future for themselves through involvement in a range of activities makes a major contribution. The programme of study offers students the concepts and skills to develop their future roles in life with confidence and with the flexibility necessary in today’s working world.

Developing roles as producers, consumers and citizens

Everyone has a variety of roles in society. Through the economic wellbeing and financial capability programme of study, there are opportunities for students to develop the skills and understanding that will enable them to fulfil their roles as producers, consumers and citizens. Students will understand that there may be conflicts between these roles, and they will have strategies to deal with such situations.

Encouraging the development of skills

In the programme of study, the key concepts and key processes have been separated to make planning easier for schools. The key processes of self-development, exploration, enterprise and financial capability help young people to identify major life roles, to research opportunities, to develop approaches to problem-solving, and to appreciate the important part that finance plays in their lives.

A curriculum that encourages critical thinking

The increasing demands of an information-rich society require students to develop and use a widening range of techniques for testing the validity of what they read and are told. Recognising bias and inaccuracies in information is part of the key processes in the programme of study for economic wellbeing and financial capability. These skills enable students to improve as questioning and independent learners and as critical and reflective thinkers who can evaluate a wide range of written, visual and electronic sources to reach reasoned conclusions. In addition, the key concepts equip students with the ability to take a critical approach to the opportunities available to help them develop their pathways into adult life.

Planning for inclusion

Planning an inclusive key stage 4 means thinking about shaping the curriculum to match the needs and interests of the full range of learners.

These include:

  • the gifted and talented

  • those with special educational needs and disabilities

  • students who have English as a second language

  • the different needs of boys and girls.

Students in the school will also bring a range of cultural experiences and perspectives, which can be reflected in the curriculum and used to further students' understanding of the importance of the issues of diversity.

An inclusive curriculum is one where:

  • different groups of students are all able to see the relevance of the curriculum to their own experiences and aspirations

  • all students, regardless of ability, have sufficient opportunities to succeed in their learning at the highest standard.

You may find that a useful starting point to planning for inclusion could be to consider your own school's Disability Action Plan, Race Equality Plan and other equality policies alongside a comprehensive overview of the data available on students from various groups. This can then be used to draw up a useful framework for curriculum review. You will also be able to identify appropriate points to involve learners themselves in some of these developments.

Support for assessment

Assessment is an essential part of normal teaching and learning in all subjects. It can take many forms and be used for a range of purposes. To be effective assessment must be ‘fit for purpose’; being clear about what you want the assessment to achieve will determine the nature of the assessment and what the outcome will be.

When planning assessment opportunities for PSHE education consider the following:

Purpose – What is the assessment for and how will it be used?

Does it form part of ongoing assessment for learning to provide individual feedback or targets so that the pupil knows what to do next? Is it to provide an overall judgement about how the pupil is progressing against the non-statutory end of key stage statements? Related to this is the need to consider how the purpose of assessment affects the frequency of assessment. For example, there should be sufficient time between assessed tasks to allow a pupil to show progress, whereas to be effective the assessment of ongoing work should be embedded in day-to-day teaching and learning.

Assessment in PSHE education is about measuring a pupil's knowledge, skills and progression through the subject. It is not about judging the worth, personality or values of an individual pupil or their family.

Evidence – What are the best ways to gather the evidence needed to support the purpose of the assessment?

Assessment shouldn’t be limited to written outcomes, and any meaningful judgement of progress or attainment should be based on a range of evidence. This could include assessing the learning as it’s happening through observation, discussion or focused questioning; involving pupils in the process through peer or self-assessment; or sampling a range of work over a period of time. If there are areas where you don’t have sufficient evidence you could either adjust your planning or use a more focused short task to fill the gap. The gathering of evidence also needs to be manageable. With care, the same evidence may be used for a variety of purposes.

Some examples of evidence might include a recording/transcript of a talk, presentation or role-play; teacher/peer observation of taking part and contributing to
discussions and debate; and a video of participation in role-play, simulations or a
health forum meeting. 

Outcome – What form will the assessment outcome take and how will it be used?

Depending on the purpose of the assessment the outcome could be set against the non-statutory end of key stage statements to judge progress over time or to give a specific and measurable improvement target for the pupil. Effective use of the assessment outcome results in actions such as providing an instant response or planning for the longer term. The best means of communicating assessment outcomes should also be considered. For example, it might be through written feedback or discussion. The outcome may also provide you with valuable information for your future planning, by identifying areas that need to be revisited by a class or individuals to secure understanding or by revealing gaps in curriculum coverage where there is no evidence of achievement in a particular area to assess.

Further guidance on gathering evidence, integrating assessment, periodic assessment and the role of tasks and tests can be found in the assessment section of the website.

Detailed guidance on ways to assess, record and report PSHE education can be found on the QCDA website.

Further guidance on day-to-day assessment and peer and self-assessment can be found under the assessment section of the website.

Quick links

See also

Here are some useful related resources:

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