Teachers and students Sorted

Issue: Volume 99, Number 12

Posted: 31 July 2020
Reference #: 1HA9Nb

It’s more important than ever for today’s young people to gain financial literacy skills, says Nick Thomson, director of learning for Sorted in Schools.

Sorted in Schools is helping young people acquire the core financial literacy skills they need for now and their futures.  

Nick Thomson, director of learning for Sorted in Schools, says saving and getting onto the property ladder are more difficult for this current generation, which means they can’t afford to make some of the mistakes earlier generations have made.

“It’s really important because it is harder for young people to get on to the property ladder. That’s why it’s important to nail this so that by the time they are leaving school, they’re making some pretty good decisions.  

“When you think about it, most of us have spent years gaining financial skills from when you first started earning money. From a net wealth position, had you been equipped with all of those skills a lot earlier, you may have made different decisions,” says Nick.

Sorted in Schools, a financial capability hub for secondary school students produced by the Commission for Financial Capability (CFFC), aims to equip young New Zealanders with the knowledge and tools to make good decisions around money and money management.

By teachers, for teachers

All of the resources have been designed and developed by teachers for teachers and align with the national curriculum.  

“We were heavily focused on teachers being involved in our content creation. We were really clear about what topics we wanted students to learn. This covers topics like KiwiSaver, investing, setting goals, insurance, retirement, debt, budgeting and saving. 

“Once teachers were helping us with content creation and working with our product developers and we knew our themes, then what we really had to do is, cover real-life learning scenarios that would truly resonate with students. So we talk about things like going flatting, taking out a student loan, figuring out a grocery budget,” explains Nick.

The programme is available in both English and Māori medium and is aligned with social sciences, technology, English, mathematics and health in Years 9 and 10 and core-generic unit standards for NCEA Levels 1 and 2.

Upskilling teachers

“We recognised that for us to be truly successful, teachers need to be equipped with skills and knowledge to be able to deliver financial capability education. So we have a PLD programme for teachers that we continue to roll out throughout New Zealand,”  says Nick.

Sorted recognises that the PLD is also an opportunity for some teachers to improve their personal financial literacy. 

“As soon as you start learning about topics like KiwiSaver, insurance, retirement – any of those things – no matter how competent or how well you think you know a subject, there’s a little bit more that you can learn. We’ve also found that lots of teachers have been able to share their experiences: ‘If I’d known this when I was your age, I would be better off’.”

Sorted in Schools, which was launched in 2019, has potentially reached more than 200,000 students. Last year about 50 per cent of secondary schools registered for the programme, with about 35 per cent of schools using it. This year 62 per cent of schools have registered and annual usage data is indicating a big increase in usage this year. 

Shopping and parties

The Open Polytechnic has developed two interactive learning scenarios in a partnership with Sorted in Schools.

“Open Polytechnic’s Digital Experience team has created two visually engaging interactive learning tools for the Sorted for Schools website so far – Supermarket Shopper and Party Planner,” says Open Polytechnic chief executive Dr Caroline Seelig.

The interactive resources are included in teaching material for NCEA Levels 1 and 2, enabling students to use them to gain credits toward their NCEA.

Good money decisions important

“Throughout life we’ve got to make lots of money decisions and being equipped with financial skills and competencies means you are more likely to make the right decisions and arrive at retirement in really good shape,” says Nick. 

“It only takes a couple of really bad decisions to get you behind and cause quite a lot of issues in your life with money.

“When we started this programme, we did some research and found that 82 per cent of school leavers wished they had learned more about money at school from their teachers.”

Good debt/bad debt

Karamu High School in Hastings wanted to add some depth to the Year 10 Business Studies option and has been using Sorted in Schools, says business and social studies teacher Colin Rafferty.

“Most of our Year 10 programme focuses on entrepreneurship, so we cherry-picked the bits on financial literacy from Sorted in Schools about debt. Our focus was on getting the kids to understand where debt comes from; what is good debt and bad debt when it comes to making business decisions. 

“Then we looked at budgeting and how that impacts on lives and business. We can link it back into their own personal lives and families – so the financial literacy becomes symbiotic to their lives rather than something that is only applied to business,” explains Colin.

“We want to give the kids a wider understanding of how this stuff impacts not just now, but in 10, 15, 20 years’ time. If they can get those concepts now, they will be better able to manage themselves in the future,” says Colin.

School Leavers' Toolkit

The School Leavers’ Toolkit (SLTK) is designed to ensure all school leavers have the core skills and knowledge they need to help launch their post-school lives. 

The SLTK is made up of two websites, one for teachers, and one for students. The teacher-facing website provides a collection of curriculum-aligned resources that teachers can integrate into their lesson plans around the Toolkit topics. 

The website for students provides all they need to know about the Toolkit topics in a way that is engaging and developed by students.  

Resources like Banqer(external link) and Sorted(external link) align with the Ministry of Education and The School Leavers’ Toolkit (SLTK) objectives to equip young New Zealanders with important life skills: 

There are also a number of curriculum resources on Financial Capability(external link) to help teachers with their planning and teaching in this area.

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BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero, reporter@edgazette.govt.nz

Posted: 9:18 am, 31 July 2020

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