New research from financial education charity Young Money and the University of Edinburgh Business School has found that training teachers to deliver financial education has a long-term positive impact on young people's ability to choose financial products and to protect themselves from the current rise in incidents of fraud and identity theft among their age group.
Figures from fraud prevention organisation Cifas show a 24% increase between 2017 and 2018 in the number of identity fraud victims under 21, and a 26% increase in the number of under-21s acting as money mules.
The research shows that training teachers to deliver financial education could be the key to ensuring these figures do not continue to increase. The 2018 studies revealed that training boosted teacher confidence and led to improvements in students' confidence and behaviour across a range of financial capability outcomes, including the ability to recognise fraudulent communications.
The results of a follow-on study completed this year which assessed the longer-term impact of the initial training have shown that the short-term positive improvements in students' confidence and behaviour continued to strengthen over time. Both studies were conducted with post-16 students and teachers from around the country and funded by the Money and Pensions Service's What Works Fund.
The key findings of this year's follow-on study are:
- By the end of the study, almost two-thirds (63%) of students whose teachers received the training were confident that they knew where to go for financial advice, compared with around one-third (38%) of students whose teachers did not receive the training.
- The strength of confidence among students whose teachers received the training was also greater compared with those whose teachers had not received the training. Students were almost twice as likely to feel 'completely confident' about knowing where to go for advice, what sources of advice are available, and what sources of advice are reliable and trustworthy.
- 70% of students whose teachers had been trained felt confident using advice to choose a financial product, compared to only 44% of students whose teacher had not been trained.
Professor Tina Harrison from the University of Edinburgh Business School said:
"As students move on from school into further study, training, or employment, it is vital they are equipped to make considered financial decisions and know where to go for financial advice. There are also six million young people with government-issued child trust funds, the first wave of which are due to mature in September 2020. These young people will need to be confident seeking advice and making decisions about what to do with this, in many cases, quite significant windfall.
"This project clearly shows the impact of high quality financial education on the ability of young people to manage their money and make effective financial decisions."
Tina Harrison is Personal Chair of Financial Services Marketing and Consumption at the University of Edinburgh Business School.