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Teaching financial capability in an enterprise context

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Aorere College teacher Meriane Brown talks about the financial capabilities her year 13 students develop as part of Lunches for Less, the year-long enterprise project they are working on. These include developing capabilities in costing, supply, money management, and personal financial liability.

Professional learning conversations

These questions and suggested actions encourage you to reflect on your own school context.

Enterprise and the NZC

“Students can develop their financial capability as part of enterprise learning, but it is important to not confuse the two. Financial capability is primarily about management of money – earning, saving, spending, budgeting, sharing, setting financial goals, and managing risks – positioning students to make well-informed financial decisions throughout their lives. Enterprise learning seeks to develop entrepreneurs, and its valued outcomes include leadership, innovation, and risk taking.”

BCUSS – Taking Part in Economic Communities

  • What does financial capability look like at your school? Do you use enterprise learning to help students develop money management skills? Are there opportunities to do so? 
  • In what ways does your school provide opportunities for students to apply financial values, processes, and understandings in real-life situations?
  • Building community partnerships with people beyond the classroom is a key element of financial education. How could you facilitate this at your school?



Lunches for Less is practically a service where we go into low decile primary schools, decile one and two primary schools in South Auckland, where we conduct and teach year three and four students how to make a healthy lunch on a tight budget.

Meriane Brown

A big part of our students running their business or a big part of any business of course is the financial capability of that. So as soon as they’ve come up with that business idea, a big part of their planning is around the financial aspect of it. Where are their sources of income going to come from, how are they going to finance it? So for our students, we really try and help them manage their personal liability within the company. Their planning around costing is absolutely vital. So as a group they do a lot of research around different suppliers, a lot of analysis around that costing, how much is it going to cost them compared to the quality of their product, do they have a market prepared to pay what they may need to sell, and then factoring in their profit margins and fixed costs and things like that. So although the groups have a financial director it’s actually really important that everybody in the group has a really solid grasp on the costings within the group so that they understand really where their money’s come from, how it’s going to be used, and ensuring that it’s being used effectively. If they don’t sell their product they are still liable for all of the cost that they’ve incurred through production. So a big part of my job is ensuring they understand that and the expectation that that liability is then theirs, and are they in a position to repay it or to meet those financial obligations, and how best to manage that. When the Lunches for Less group decided to or were working on their business plan they actually had to put a lot of time themselves into the planning and the budgeting of the lunches that they wanted to deliver. So they came up with lunches that they would eat that they could… that they know their families could afford and other local families in their community could afford, and that they could source easily.

The parents are invited along to the workshops with the students as well, and we had a workshop just at the end of last term, and a big part of that workshop is explaining to the students this will cost Mum and Dad less than $2 a day. The Lunches for Less pamphlet that they had, that every child gets and is encouraged to take home, is a big financial breakdown of what they can buy and how a lunch can be made for a little over a dollar, and we did have a Mum walk round with her student, her child, and she sort of came up at the end and said “does that really cost less than $2 a day?” and the students were able to really explain “yip, here’s the breakdown of the costings and if you buy this and buy this it will last you this long”.


Being in Lunches for Less throughout the whole year and learning about finance and budgeting with money, it taught me to be more sensible for now and for the future.

Published on: 25 Nov 2013