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Introducing financial capability into the senior secondary school at Awatapu College

Ian Scott, Deputy Principal, Awatapu College

At Awatapu College a percentage of students were finding it difficult to attain NCEA level 2 achievement standards. It was identified that these students needed to develop practical, knowledge-based skills in an achievable learning framework.

Process of introducing financial literacy into the school curriculum

Deputy Principal, Ian Scott investigated the NZQA financial literacy unit standards. He found the unit standards provide practical life skills that are both beneficial and attainable.

Following a visit from the Young Enterprise Trust (YET), Ian became aware of the financial literacy resources YET provide, which include resources designed to support the financial literacy unit standards.

Financial literacy unit standards were introduced in year 12 mathematics, and in health and physical education, as part of the teaching and learning programmes. So far this has proved to be a particularly successful approach for students taking the alternative maths programme who were able to pass NCEA level 1 but found NCEA level 2 achievement standards difficult to achieve.


Year 12 Alternative mathematics

Year 12 Health and physical education


NZQA unit standards:

  • Level 1: 24697, 24705, 24709
  • Level 2: 24695, 24699, 24704, 24707, 24710, 25242, 25246
  • Level 3: 25247

Next steps

Analysis of student achievement data and consultation with staff teaching the financial literacy unit standards will provide information on the changes made and highlight “where to next”.

Some schools that use unit standards offer students the opportunity to take seven subjects rather than six. This allows students the opportunity to gain the 60 credits required to pass NCEA level 2, over a wider range of subjects. Ian visited schools to see this model in operation. Awatapu may consider this approach if there is an identified need following analysis of student data and teacher feedback from the initial intervention. Ian acknowledges that teachers need time to build their capability throughout the change process. Reflection and analysis are an important part of the change process to ensure decisions are based on pedagogy and student achievement data.

Published on: 05 Dec 2013