Financial literacy the backbone of Life Skills Course

Sam Janssen

Sam Janssen

Head of HPE, Hillmorton High School, New Zealand

Banqer High - integral to hauora at Hillmorton High School

Colleges across New Zealand are broadening their Health & Physical Education (HPE) provision to include ‘hauora’ (well-being), attitudes and values, and interrelationships, in addition to the traditional focus of promoting health. Acknowledging staff and students’ requests for a financial literacy programme, Hillmorton High School conceived a Life Skills course that would sit under HPE and cover skills integral to hauora, such as employment law, social media safety, and the realities of managing money.

Embedding Banqer in the Life Skills course

Sam Janssen, Head of the HPE department, created his own financial literacy resources for his team to use until a colleague mentioned Banqer, “We had a look, and it ticked all the boxes, covering everything the students need to know about managing money.”

Assistance from our support partner, Partner’s Life, enabled Hillmorton High School to access the platform. Engagement was immediately high; Sam and one hundred and seventy Year 11 students haven’t looked back.

Students became really invested. One time I was on duty during break time and came across a group sitting at a picnic table on their devices, helping students from another class who hadn’t gotten their heads around the stock exchange expansion. That’s when you know students are engaged!

The personal risk expansion provoked in-depth discussion, “Students were rolling their eyes at first and asking why they would spend money on insurance. Then we played the rolling dice game, and incidents started to happen. They are now all super keen for full coverage!”

hillmorton high school building

Both students and colleagues rated Banqer highly,

The students were motivated because it was different to anything else that we do, user-friendly, interactive, and they loved the competitive element and seeing who was ranking top across all the classes.

We had Year 12 and 13 ākonga (students) seeing Banqer in use at the end of the hauora sessions, having a look, and immediately declaring, “This is awesome; it is exactly what we should have!”

Learning valuable lessons on financial literacy

Several learnings came to light in the first year of using Banqer. Sam and his colleagues were surprised by the student’s lack of financial knowledge, “Even the basics of banking were unfamiliar territory. The students have accounts but don’t know how to manage them. Equally, they had no idea how hard their parents had saved and worked to get by.”

Banqer stimulated some meaningful conversations at home and in class and opened students’ eyes to the financial realities of life.

Sam and his team had their own learning journeys, “Teaching financial literacy has taught us a thing or two, and it has been a cool experience learning alongside the students.” The teachers found the resources provided by Banqer to support staff and students invaluable, “We used the videos and the worksheets, and we quickly realised that with only one hour a week for one term, we were just scraping the surface.”

hillmorton students on their laptops discussing banqer

Now aware of the acute need for financial literacy amongst the students and acknowledging the depth of material Banqer has to offer, the HPE team are making some changes for the year ahead.

We will run with Banqer for the whole year. There is so much content that ties in with our focus on hauora. We are also looking to connect with our whānau (tutor) groups to provide more opportunities for discussion and with the maths department.

Sam recommends Banqer should be incorporated into any Life Skills course, “The content is invaluable for the future success of your students.”

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