Westlake Boys High School uses Banqer High to bring the ‘real’ to financial literacy.

Westlake Boys High School is a year 9-13 state boys’ school in Auckland’s North Shore. The school is using Banqer High to expose students to real life financial scenarios and the consequences of their decision-making. Engagement has rocketed as Banqer High has superseded paper-based teaching methods. Brad Cachopa, Acting Head of Department for Finance and Society describes the powerful impact Banqer High has had on students’ financial awareness.

Banqer High provides what we have been unable to, a financial bridge between now and the students’ futures. Engagement has improved, questioning in the classroom is more insightful, and students are aware that what they are learning now will impact their futures – which has always been the challenge with financial literacy.

Westlake Boys High School (WBHS) uses Banqer High with its Year 10 cohort, almost five hundred students, as part of a two term financial capabilities course 'Finance and Society'. The school uses Banqer High as a tool to support the learning of financial concepts by working methodically through all the expansions. The overall performance of the students on Banqer High contributes towards the key competencies upon which they are being assessed.

Previously Brad and his colleagues used a combination of worksheets, class discussions, group tasks and assessment tasks, “These never quite managed to deliver the importance of financial literacy. I think because they lacked real-life context.”

Now the teachers support students who express surprise at how hard it is to meet the cost of living in the first two years after leaving home and saving for life's unexpected costs. “Logging into Banqer High and learning that your hot water cylinder needs replacement is commonly seen as unjust by our students. Students who have saved for a rainy day rejoice and those who have not budgeted for random events are disappointed and in shock. A fantastic tool to deliver the realities they will all face in the future. They are all developing an awareness of the consequences of their financial decisions.” Brad has noticed students giving more consideration to purchases and even to the careers they choose.

As a result, teaching financial literacy has become more enjoyable, “Engaging with the students on their Banqer High journey is very interesting and provides an opportunity for relationship building. Banqer High has improved student attitudes towards learning a future skill.”

Similar insightful conversations are happening at home, “During our most recent parents evening, conversations regarding Finance and Society were dominated by the impact Banqer High is having at home. Students are talking to parents about it, showing them what they’re doing in the platform. Every parent I spoke to knew about Banqer High. All our parents were impressed with the concept and wished they had a similar opportunity in school”.

Brad sees huge potential in Banqer High, “It can be utilised in multiple ways - as a homework tool, an in-class support tool or an assessment-based tool.” He does caution though, “We have to structure the time allowance in class and the opening of expansions to ensure students do not race through the entire platform as a result of them enjoying the learning experience!”

Brad sums up Banqer High’s winning formula, “Banqer High provides what we have been unable to, a financial bridge between now and the students’ futures. Engagement has improved, questioning in the classroom is more insightful, and students are aware that what they are learning now will impact their futures – which has always been the challenge with financial literacy.”