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Words that Count: a KS3 financial literacy programme

Post 1

What is Words that Count?

Words that Count is our new programme designed for young people aged 11 to 14 who have been excluded or are at risk of exclusion in mainstream and alternative provision settings in England and Scotland. This fully resourced programme aims to unpick the financial terms and concepts that have many young people stumped so that they feel empowered to make good financial decisions and can build financial resilience.

Why Words that Count?

Literacy skills are essential in helping young people unlock their financial resilience. Including financial education in literacy lessons throughout a young person’s education can be highly effective. In 2019, we published a report exploring the association between literacy and financial capability.

We found that:

  • Children and young people who have good reading skills are four times as likely to have good financial skills than their peers who have poor reading skills (35.6% vs 8.8%)
  • Children and young people who have poor reading skills are four times as likely to also have poor financial skills (56.3% vs 12.3%)

Continuing our existing work in alternative provision settings, Game Changers, Empower and Represent, this new programme offers mainstream secondary schools and alternative provision settings the chance to support the financial literacy skills of students who have been excluded from, or who are at risk of being excluded from, mainstream education.

Thanks to funding from the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS), we are able to offer Words that Count to settings in England and Scotland for free.

How it works

Words that Count is a 10-session programme that aims to give students the tools to make more informed choices about their current and future finances. Content will support leaders to differentiate, acknowledging the wide range of abilities often found in these settings. Online training will be provided for all teachers, teaching assistants or librarians taking part in the delivery of the programme.

What are the aims?

Words that Count has four main aims. By the end of the programme participating students will:

  • Demonstrate good understanding and knowledge of money management including debt and savings
  • Demonstrate good understanding of budgeting
  • Demonstrate an ability to forecast
  • Articulate the importance of financial wellbeing to themselves and their peers

Teachers will also be supported through our training package and will:

  • Be more confident in teaching financial literacy to their students
  • Have greater understanding of the importance of financial literacy for their students
  • Have greater understanding of how financial literacy fits within their curriculum

Who is it for?

The programme is aimed at students aged 11 to 14 who are in alternative provision (either in internal units in a mainstream school or at a specialist centre) or who are in mainstream education but are at risk of exclusion.

Does it work?

Students on the programme improve their understanding and confidence of financial literacy. Our evaluation over the 2023/2024 academic year has shown that:

  • Almost all students agreed that they knew why it was important to save money following the programme (93.0%).
  • After taking part in the programme, 4 in 5 (79.0%) reported that they felt more confident in how to spend and save their money.
  • 9 in 10 (92.8%) teachers agreed that the programme helped their students to understand the importance of financial literacy.

The programme also positively impacted on teachers’ knowledge and confidence to support their students’ financial literacy:

  • Only 3 in 10 (30.0%) teachers reported feeling confident to teach financial literacy before the training, more than 4 in 5 (81.8%) felt confident to do so after the training.
  • After the training, almost all teachers (97.1%) agreed that they felt more confident in their ability to develop strategies to teach financial literacy.
  • More than 9 in 10 teachers felt the training improved their understanding of the importance of financial literacy (91.2%) and the challenges associated with teaching the subject (92.6%).

When do I run it?

Each of the 10 sessions is designed to last for one hour. They can be delivered as part of an intervention strategy or during English, PSHE, citizenship or maths lessons. This can be run at your own pace to fit your own school's timetable.

What do I get?

Each setting will receive:

  • Programme Delivery Training
  • Financial Literacy in the classroom CPD
  • A resource pack for each cohort, including workbooks with the texts and teaching notes
  • A set of books for each cohort of participants

How do I access it?

The programme is currently on hold as we source more funding to deliver this for free. You can register your interest in delivering Words the Count in the future by providing your full school and contact details in the form linked below.

If you have any enquiries relating to this programme please email

Register your interest now

Register on the form below to register your interest in delivering Words that Count. We will contact you when the programme is available.