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Innovation and Financial Capability

"…innovation floats on a sea of inquiry and curiosity is a driver for change."

Timperley, Kaser & Halbert

Upper Harbour Sorted Schools Learning Community


A group of nine schools and a tertiary institution collaborated to embed Financial Capability teaching and learning into their school curriculum.The shared practice across the sectors was definitely a critical factor in the development of new thinking, practices and resources. The schools involved were Albany Junior High School, Albany Senior High School, Browns Bay Primary School, Hobsonville Point Secondary School, Target Road Primary, Takapuna Grammar School, Torbay Primary, Upper Harbour Primary School and Westlake Girls. The initiative was supported by Westpac Fin-Lit Centre at Massey University and academic staff from the Albany campus. The schools selected the goals that would improve the financial capability of students, teachers and the wider community. This initiative was funded by the Commission for Financial Capability for a two year period with a focus on teacher professional learning. Their aim to increase levels of financial capacity for New Zealanders’ is underpinned by the National Strategy and the vision of everyone getting ahead financially

Sorted Schools Video 

Innovative Practice

The lead teachers met regularly to create shared vision, goals and to view practices from within the group. This understanding of learning from Years 0-Year 13 was very insightful and was a catalyst for new thinking

A sound research base and big picture thinking was an important element as was the ongoing evaluation and feedback. Cultural perspectives were shared and teachers personal financial management practices were reflected on. The lead teachers were appreciative of other perspectives and this was evident in the development of new resources and outcomes. The Ministry of Education published the MOE Financial Capability Progressions at the same time which was a supporting document. A website was created for the teachers to share their resources within the group on the understanding that materials could be used and modified if acknowledged. Links with local businesses, banks and national organisations were forged. When it comes to ‘financial matters” there.is a lot of generosity from people who just want to help with mentoring, sharing of resources and services or just by attending school based activities and sharing their expertise..

Outcomes included development of Financial Capability resources in Te Reo, practical classroom hands on games and equipment, integrated units of work in both primary and secondary schools. New course materials at secondary were rewritten reflecting student voice. Student inquiry approaches were integrated into a secondary maths programme after viewing primary school practice. Students participated in Trade Shows, writing of apps, Young Enterprise Challenges, Dragon’s Dens, Caine’s Arcade Games, Boot Camps, Stock Market Challenges , technology challenges and fundraising events. Teachers involved students in planning school camps including the comparative pricing of services, budgeting and purchasing food. The Financial Capability learning experiences were all integrated into existing learning areas and programmes.

The Upper Harbour Sorted Schools held their inaugural Finance Festival at Massey University in 2015. Local schools were invited and there was a range of financial challenges from Years 5-12 .A total of 350 students attended and they competed in teams of four at activities designed for their level. There was a high buzz and level of engagement as teams of four competed for prizes and awards.

Sorted cluster 1    Sorted cluster 2

The lead teachers are continuing this collaborative practice by sharing and supporting the teachers in the South Auckland Sorted Schools learning community which consists of eight schools. They continue to meet as a learning community. They have adapted a methodology of peer review to moderate their newly created resources so they can prepare them for sharing with the wider NZ community. Most Significant Change


Key Success Factors

  • Principal and senior management support to be able to implement and trial new resources
  • Integrating financial capability into the curriculum where possible so it was not viewed as an add on
  • Development of an action plan. which is shared and endorsed by Principal/management team and BOT
  • Involve other sectors and community groups and agencies for support.
  • Ongoing evaluation of progress and process.                                                                                       

Ideas to Ponder in your School

  • Changing the culture about talking about money in your school .Start by asking your staff for their very first memories about money? What was their “Ah Ha” moment with money? What was their “Oh No “moment with money? Why is it important to integrate financial capability into our school?
  • Think big but start small. Sometimes simple initiatives have a significant impact so don’t extend yourself way beyond what is sustainable. It is better to embed simple things first to build momentum. The one by one approach represented classes in primary schools and learning areas in secondary schools.
  • Adapt can be easier than create. Look at what is currently available or being done and try to adapt it to a new context. Share practice with colleagues in and between schools and sectors.
  • Does innovation come from design or default? How does it look in your school?
  • How do cultural and socio economic impact on models of design and innovation?