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Mangere Central School

Mangere Central is a decile 2 full-primary school with a roll of 470 students, located in South Auckland. The population is highly diverse, and draws students from a range of local and international communities. The school has strong links with various community groups in the area, including two local marae and various Pacific Island community groups.

Prior to being involved in the Personal Financial Education (PFE) project, the school had already integrated some aspects of financial capability into the curriculum through students developing a small business in order to manage money and function within an organised society.

Our approach

We wanted to kick-start our project by gaining whole-school buy-in, so we held a workshop where teachers could share their prior understanding of this knowledge-rich subject. The entire school (teachers and students) completed a financial literacy survey. Upon analysis, we realised that our teachers needed to build greater content knowledge in four areas:

  • variable rate home loans
  • revolving credit facility loan
  • NZ superannuation
  • retirement.

We then planned a series of three professional development workshops and one community initiative.

Two approaches were planned. These concentrated on both building content knowledge and answering the key question:

  • What will a financially literate student look like when they leave us as a year 8?

Approach 1 - professional development

Lead teachers will facilitate professional development sessions that focus on cooperatively planning financial literacy (planning workshop) profiling a financially literate student (financial literacy workshop), and evaluating their teaching (evaluation workshop).

Approach 2 - community engagement

Lead teachers will facilitate a community consultation that will provide opportunity for students to learn about budgeting and saving with the support of their families/whānau, and to provide our families/whānau access to budgeting and saving resources/contacts.

Professional development

Workshop 1

This workshop aimed to inform teachers about superannuation so they were better equipped to plan for their own retirement. Because of the personal nature of this subject we asked a personal banker from ASB Bank to present general information on KiwiSaver and then follow up with individual or group family sessions for those who requested it. The response was positive and when surveyed, 59% of our teachers admitted to having learnt a lot about superannuation.

Workshops 2 and 3

The subsequent workshops involved the teachers actively using and understanding financial literacy themselves. While brainstorming key competencies and values relevant to financial literacy, our teachers completed practical activities. One activity was analysing a newspaper clipping from our local paper to find out the real cost of credit from money lenders with misleading advertising. We used in-school lead teachers to facilitate, which helped build a trusting environment.

Profile of a financially literate student

Staff, students, and community members were given opportunities to brainstorm ideas for what a financially literate student will look like when they leave as a year 8. From these we devised our profile of a financially literate student:

  • Has an awareness of their financial potential.
  • Shows confidence with money.
  • Assertiveness/confidence to deal with financial agencies and people.
  • Can manage a budget.
  • Asks questions.
  • Uses critical thinking.
  • Has sound maths knowledge.
  • Financial planning shows priorities.
  • Life-long learning.
  • Money and time.
  • Uses ethics in financial transactions.
  • Knows their rights.
  • Understands the value of education: more education = more money.
  • Demonstrates an understanding of the value of money.
  • Understands the difference between needs and wants.
  • Uses the language of money.
  • Able to fill in forms.

Community engagement

Our community engagement initiative has potential for significant long-term impact on financial literacy in our school. Our school has a number of community-based interactions including consultations, home-school partnership, and a Manukau Family Literacy programme. However, this consultation in particular raised the most interest and participation.

The workshop involved over 60 people, made up of students, staff, families/whānau, and two key speakers (one from our local budgeting services branch and two from ANZ Bank). The two-hour workshop aimed to have our students learn about budgeting and saving with the support of their families/whānau, and to provide families/whānau access to budgeting and saving resources and contacts.

The workshop was broken into two sessions:

Session 1 began with students and whānau having supper. We used a fun skill seeker game designed to motivate, relax, cover basic money skills, and also give us (the lead teachers and key speakers) an indication of what everyone knew.

Students practiced recognising NZ notes and coins, comparing values of NZ coins, and making totals. For example, “I have 3 coins that total 40 cents – what are they?”

Meanwhile, parents were asked questions that gauged their understanding of how interest works and calculating interest. For example, “A second-hand car costs $5200. I have a deposit of $2000. The bank will lend me $3200. What do you think is a fair/current interest rate for a loan of $3000?”.

Both of our key speakers gave families/whānau helpful hints on saving and budgeting in a question and answer type session.

Session 2 was the 'practical problems' session, and aimed for students to:

  • understand and use finance vocabulary
  • identify how income and expenses relate
  • find compatible numbers for totals such as 10, 20, 50, and 100
  • use various dollar and coin amounts to make given totals
  • identify the value of everyday items and calculate percentages and interest.

Financial capability in the curriculum

At our initial planning workshop, teachers integrated financial literacy into a 10-week cross-curricular unit around the Beijing Olympics. We decided that our main achievement objectives for this topic would be drawn from technology (technological practice, planning for practice), and financial literacy from the financial capability progressions.

Teachers across the school integrated financial capability into their units on the Beijing Olympics over a one-term period:

  • Year 0-2 looked at 'what money is', so that students could successfully design, purchase materials, and produce sweatbands for their own Olympic athletes.
  • Year 3-4 focused on teaching students the value of money and saving as part of their numeracy lessons.
  • Year 5-6 students set a personal goal, for example, buying a piece of sports equipment, joining a sports club. Students sourced income, opened a school bank account, and saved towards their goal using a simple budgeting tool.
  • Year 7-8 students conducted an inquiry into the cost of an athlete's participation in the Beijing Olympics. Money-related skills were reinforced during mathematics through activities that varied depending on the students' numeracy stage - ranging from giving change (stage 5, part/whole) to calculating interest (stage 7, using advanced strategies to calculate decimals and percentages).


Our evaluation survey results of the teacher professional development found that every teacher thought it was beneficial. One year 1-2 teacher commented:

“Interest rates can be tricky! I’ve learnt that I can’t afford to not know about financial education because it helps me and I want my class to know more about it.”

Upon evaluation of the topic, teachers concluded that students gained a lot of confidence with, and knowledge of, money. One teacher commented that financial literacy is important for our students because then:

“...they won’t be conned about anything financial later on in life. It gives them confidence to know how and why money is valuable.”

In terms of values, we recognised the following:

  • Our children's outlook on the financial world is influenced by their gender.
  • The role children play at home in terms of gender and culture affects their prior knowledge of finance.
  • Family and/or cultural beliefs influence privacy issues.

A profile of a financially literate student was developed from the staff, student, and community consultation. This is being used to inform our school programme.

Next steps

Our community has a strong desire for us to continue teaching financial literacy.

Personal financial education needs to be embedded in our teaching and learning to ensure that financial literacy values are an essential part of our new curriculum. We will work to ensure that increased teacher knowledge contributes to improved outcomes for our students.

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Updated on: 16 Dec 2013