Welcome to the Curriculum & Leadership Journal website.
To receive our fortnightly Email Alert,
please click on the blue menu item below.
Curriculum & Leadership Journal
An electronic journal for leaders in education
ISSN: 1448-0743
Follow us on twitter

Consumer and financial literacy

Grahame Crough
Manager, Education and Training Unit, Financial Literacy Foundation

Consumer and financial literacy has been recognised as an important life skill nationally. There is now a strong commitment to help students learn about financial literacy in schools, by focusing on knowledge, skills and attitudes which will assist them manage their personal finances and decisions as consumers. In a National Press Club Address Preparing Children to Succeed: Standards in Our Schools (7 February 2007), the Minister for Education, Science and Training, the Hon Julie Bishop MP identified financial literacy as a fundamental life skill, saying that parents:

 'want to be assured that the school education their child receives will give them fundamental skills to get a job, undertake further training or go to university and to provide them with skills they will need for life - such as financial literacy.'

The National Consumer and Financial Literacy Framework

In May 2005, the Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA) directed that a National Consumer and Financial Literacy Framework be established. This Framework was subsequently developed for MCEETYA by State and Territory education systems, the Catholic and Independent sectors, Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST), departments of Fair Trading and the Financial Literacy Foundation.

The Framework provides guidance to States and Territories in the development of their curricula for Years K–10. It describes the key knowledge, understandings, skills and values in consumer and financial literacy that students can acquire through studies in English, Mathematics, Science, Humanities – Civics and Citizenship, and Information and Communications Technology. It was recognised that teachers introducing the Framework for the first time may require support in building their knowledge, understanding and skills of consumer and financial literacy content. The professional learning strategy was therefore developed to address this need.

The Foundation, as part of the Treasury, has been working with its partner organisations to develop a Professional Learning Strategy to help address this challenge, and to embed consumer and financial literacy education across the curriculum in the compulsory years of schooling.

The National Consumer and Financial Literacy Professional Learning Strategy

The Strategy sets out a structured approach to professional learning about consumer and financial literacy content, and about the most effective ways to teach it. The Strategy specifically aims to provide teachers with the opportunity to:

  • strengthen their professional capacity to make connections across learning areas
  • strengthen their depth of pedagogical content knowledge and skills on consumer and financial literacy
  • strengthen the depth of their learning area knowledge and understanding
  • engage productively in collegial networks that extend and support knowledge and skills
  • apply professional standards to make judgements about the success of their practice and skills for future development
  • develop their capacity to provide inclusive learning environments within which all students can participate as active and engaged learners
  • develop and support a whole school culture oriented to improving consumer and financial literacy.

The Strategy is currently being reviewed by the Reference Group comprising representatives of the State and Territory Education Systems, the Catholic and Independent Sectors, DEST, the various departments of Fair Trading and the Financial Literacy Foundation, to support implementation of the Framework from 2008 onwards.

The National Consumer and Financial Literacy Professional Learning Package

A National Consumer and Financial Literacy Learning Package will be developed to support teachers addressing the knowledge, understanding, skills, values and attitudes set out in the Framework. The aim of the package is to provide guidance for trainers, consultants and facilitators to support teachers of consumer and financial literacy in 2008. The Package will be developed via a Tender process, to be managed by DEST. It is anticipated that the Tender will be advertised from August 2007.

Consumer and Financial Literacy as an AGQTP Project in 2008

The Australian Government 2007–08 Budget measure, Understanding Money – Building Australia’s Financial Literacy, provided $2 million for teacher professional learning in consumer and financial literacy. These funds will be administered through the Australian Government Quality Teaching Programme (AGQTP) as a State and Territory project. The initiative will be directed towards increasing development opportunities for teachers to support implementation of the Framework.

Through the AGQTP, teachers may receive professional learning through

  • conferences, seminars, workshops, forums and school level support provided by Professional Associations and Government institutions
  • school level support and workshops for identified schools and cluster networks by trained facilitators
  • whole school approaches which provide an opportunity to incorporate consumer and financial literacy content by contextualising it in a range of learning areas/subject departments
  • curriculum area specific teaching, learning and assessment programmes
  • whole school initiatives and activities developed and implemented by schools and cluster networks
  • web based training and video conferencing for teachers in regional, rural, and remote areas, and others that cannot attend face to face events.

Schools will be able to amend existing AGQTP Activity Plans to incorporate consumer and financial literacy in 2008.

Consumer and Financial Literacy Beyond 2008

The Foundation is working with DEST to have consumer and financial literacy included as a topic under the cross curricula/whole school priority area of the AGQTP. This would enable schools to apply for ongoing funding to support consumer and financial literacy programs beyond 2008. The Foundation is also exploring opportunities to embed consumer and financial literacy skills within core areas of future curriculum models.

The Foundation is developing partnerships with businesses and community groups interested in supporting whole-school programmes that would promote enterprise education programs, promoting environmental and social responsibility. This model provides for community involvement through partnerships or sponsorship arrangements for consumer and financial literacy to be embedded within the school culture.

For More Information

For more information about the Financial Literacy Foundation, please refer to http://www.understandingmoney.gov.au/Content/Consumer/AboutUs.aspx.

To access quality-endorsed consumer and financial literacy teaching resources, please visit http://www.understandingmoney.gov.au/Content/Education/Material/default.aspx

You can also join the Foundation’s Educators and Trainers Network at http://www.understandingmoney.gov.au/Content/Education/Network/default.aspx.

Copies of the Understanding Money handbook can be ordered by phoning 1800 236 235.


Subject Headings

Financial literacy
Educational planning