Schools keen to teach students about money

Glenfield College has put Sorted in Schools into action across the curriculum

Glenfield College has put Sorted in Schools into action across the curriculum


A government-backed financial education programme for secondary students now has half of New Zealand’s high schools signed up, with a number starting to teach teens about how to make money work for them.

Sorted in Schools, produced by the Commission for Financial Capability (CFFC), which runs the respected sorted.org website, has also just launched the first teaching package in te reo Māori for use in kura and Māori language classes. It is thought to be the first time a government-backed financial education programme for secondary students has been available in te reo.

Year 9-10 students can now learn about saving, debt and budgeting as part five core subjects - English, Maths, Social Studies, Technology and Health/PE. Other topics included in the learning packages released so far include KiwiSaver, insurance, investing and even planning for retirement.

So far 280 secondary schools, including nearly 50 kura and those with Māori immersion classes, have expressed interest in teaching the programme.

Nick Thomson CFFCCFFC’s Director of Learning, Nick Thomson, says the aim of Sorted in Schools is to equip students for their financial future before they leave school.

“New Zealand students are growing up in a time where online shopping and banking are literally at their fingertips,” says Thomson. “Once they reach 18 they are targeted for credit cards and high-interest loans. We believe the sooner our youth become financially capable and good with their money, the better.”

CFFC research shows the age group from 16 to 24 is a danger period for young people to fall into debt that can hold them back, often through a lack of understanding of what they’re getting into through easy credit.

“Sorted in Schools aims to mitigate that risk by providing young people with knowledge and tools to help them make good financial decisions from the start of their financial journey,” says Thomson.

Students say they want to learn about money at school. In a CFFC survey, more than 80% said they wanted to learn financial capability as part of the curriculum, taught by their teachers.

The te reo programme, called Te whai hua – kia ora, has been designed to reflect the Te Ao principles of Māori education, which take a more holistic approach to enhance whānau and community wellbeing.

Kaitakawaenga Māori, Marina Kawe-Peautolu, says it was considered key that the knowledge and tools accessible through Sorted in Schools were available to all students, whatever their educational setting.

“We want tauira Māori to have the same opportunities other students, so we developed this programme with that in mind. Our kids are digital natives so making a programme that’s relevant to how they learn, with a focus on te reo Māori, was important for us.”

Sorted in Schools resources and teacher guides are free through the website sortedinschools.org.nz. The programme is optional so CFFC is now liaising with schools to encourage them to use the material.

Learning packages for Years 11-13 are being developed to roll out over the next two years.

Sorted in Schools on Seven Sharp

Sorted in Schools on Seven Sharp