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«FINANCE BACCALAUREATE 2011-2012 Sponsored by the Royal Bank of Scotland Finance Baccalaureate May 2012 CONTENTS 1. Executive Summary 2. Background to ...»

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Sponsored by the Royal Bank of Scotland

Finance Baccalaureate May 2012


1. Executive Summary

2. Background to the Research Project................................ 4

2.1 The Research Partners.

2.2 The Research Methodology

3. The Pilot Scheme at King Edward VI College, Stourbridge........... 7

3.1 The Programme of Study..................................... 7

3.2 Level of Student Interest and Students’ Views..................... 7

3.3 The role of Mathematics in Education and Industry, MEI.......... 9

3.4 The role of the Institute of Financial Studies, IFS................ 14

4. Research within Education........

4.1 The Views of Senior Management

4.2 The Views of Middle Management

4.3 The Views of Students

4.4 The Views of Universities..................................... 26

5. Research with other Stakeholder Groups............................ 27

5.1 The Banking Sector View..................................... 27

5.2 The Government View

6. Conclusions and Recommendations................................ 29

6.1 Conclusions

6.2 Recommendations........................................... 29

7. Appendices 1 Curriculum profile of pilot group at King Edward VI College, Stourbridge 31 2 Student responses to ‘immersion day’ at the Royal Bank of Sc

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1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY This report examines how private sector funding supported the development of a proposed qualification within the post-16 educational sector. In particular, it refers to the use of funding, from the Royal Bank of Scotland, which enabled a sixth form college to develop a financial qualification for A level students. It found widespread support for the qualification, the ‘Finance Baccalaureate’, among the students, schools and colleges, potential employers and universities. It argues that there are gains for students, the State and the private sector that would result from private sector funding of public sector educational changes.

The proposed qualification, the Finance Baccalaureate, was trialled with a group of A level students at King Edward VI College, Stourbridge. Funding by the Royal Bank of Scotland led to research into the wider application of the qualification, both within schools and colleges, and confirmed there was wide-spread support for the qualification.

The Finance Baccalaureate is an ‘umbrella qualification’ involving three distinct features:

 A level subjects centered on Mathematics and finance-based subjects such as Economics, Business Studies and Accounts.

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 Enrichment activities, based around the world of finance, providing opportunities for a maths-based Extended Project Qualification.

The pilot group of students, at King Edward VI College, who undertook all elements of the

proposed Finance Baccalaureate, reported a greater insight into:

–  –  –

 The application of mathematical concepts into financial and economic concepts.

 A greater commitment to seek employment in banking and finance which increased their career aspirations.

There is a wider application of the Finance Baccalaureate:

 With schools and colleges supporting development of the qualification.

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 As an indicator of student commitment to finance-based degree courses.

Therefore, the report proposes that private sector organisations, such as banks, investigate funding opportunities into public sector education. The use of such funds is likely to increase private sector access to highly qualified potential recruits, more effectively prepare students for the world of work and thereby enhance their employability, while supporting public sector organisations at a time of fiscal constraint.

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Within the financial sector of the United Kingdom, it has been identified by organisations

such as the Royal Bank of Scotland that:

“We are struggling to recruit people with mathematical talent in this country to take the bank forward, for people at the top end of the bank we are having to go overseas and it’s a problem”.1 This report relates to a collaborative project involving the Royal Bank of Scotland, and three public sector organisations within education to address this issue. It refers to the first year of a three year project that examines the feasibility of setting up a qualification to attract more able A level students into the financial sector. The project is being led by the sixth form college, King Edward VI College, Stourbridge, in consultation with Mathematics in Education and Industry [MEI], and the Institute of Financial Services [IFS].

The project is being supported and funded by the Royal Bank of Scotland.

2.1 The Research Partners

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1 RBS representative speaking at the Advisory Committee for Maths Education, ACME Conference 2011, sponsored by the Royal Society 2 A level performance tables, Department for Education, published 9th February 2012 3 Ofsted Inspection report, April 2008

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4 Royal Bank of Scotland Group, Annual Results for the year 31st December 2011, published 23rd February 2012 5 Emerging theme arising from interviews with senior managers at King Edward VI College, three Midlands colleges and two schools, January-February 2012 6 Emerging theme arising from interviews with students at King Edward VI College, three Midlands colleges and two schools, January-February 2012

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 Provided direct contacts with finance employers, such as the Royal Bank of Scotland

The research project involved:

 An action research project at King Edward VI College, where new teaching materials were trialled by a voluntary group of Year 13 A level students

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Informal discussions were, also, conducted with Worcester Sixth Form College, Rugby School and other Midlands grammar schools.

Research with a small number of universities to identify the suitability of the qualification as

an entrance requirement for universities. The universities included:

–  –  –


3.1 King Edward VI College has led the development of the new qualification, the ‘Finance Baccalaureate’, and teaching materials were piloted at the college from September 2011.

In subsequent years, from September 2012, these materials will be trialled by a broader group of students in high achieving schools and colleges across the country. The teaching materials for the finance baccalaureate were developed by the national mathematics organisation, Mathematics in Education and Industry (MEI) and the Institute of Financial Services (IFS), the national financial training body. In addition during the course of the first year, the research team sought advice relating to the suitability of the financial baccalaureate as a university entrance requirement.

The intended outcome of the three year research project was to establish a finance baccalaureate qualification, which leads to more able students preparing themselves effectively for a career in finance.

3.2 Pilot Group at King Edward VI College, Stourbridge

A group of students were identified to trial new Level 4 teaching materials. They were:

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 Studying A level Mathematics plus at least one A level in a finance-related subject, such as Accounts, Business Studies and Economics.

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The level 4 modules were delivered at King Edward VI College in a timetabled lesson by a member of staff from the college. An online version of the material was, also, provided for students who were unable to attend the lesson and they had access to support from the member of staff, via emails and a workshop.

King Edward VI College Page 7 Finance Baccalaureate May 2012 The students involved in the pilot scheme were drawn from a cohort of students who were taking a combination of A level Mathematics and a finance-related A level such as Accounts, Business Studies and Economics. This group of students led to expressions of interest by 29 students. Among this group, there were 16 students who were able to attend the 1 hour weekly timetabled lesson and 13 students were sent the teaching materials online, on a weekly basis, and received additional tutor support.

The maths-based curriculum profile of the 29 students was:

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 4 students studying A level Mathematics and A level Further Mathematics.

In addition, the finance-related subjects taken by the students included:

–  –  –

 The details of their curriculum profile are shown in Appendix 1.

Upon completion of the level 4 modules, the students were:

 Asked their views about the level 4 teaching materials.

 Involved in finance-related enrichment activities in finance/business, provided by the college with input from RBS staff and also MEI/IFS.

 Involved in enrichment activities, centred on a graduate ‘immersion day’ at the Royal Bank of Scotland in February 2012.

 As a result of the feedback from students, the level 4 materials were reviewed and the timing of activities within the first year of the Finance Baccalaureate was amended. This informed planning of the second year of the research.

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3.3 ‘The Mathematics behind Economics’ [MEI] Mathematics in Education and Industry [MEI] is an independent UK curriculum development body, which provides a range of teaching resources for mathematics and has developed one of the country’s most popular A level mathematics qualifications, which is examined by the Oxford and Cambridge Examination board.

From September 2011 to December 2011, the students were required to undertake level 4 work, developed by Mathematics in Education and Industry. This work concentrated on developing student skills in applying mathematical concepts to economic and financial issues. The students were expected to make active use of computer packages during the

module including:

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Exemplars from the ‘Mathematics behind Economics’ lessons one, and two, are shown in Appendix 3.

There was very positive feedback from the students involved in the Level 4 modules, both in terms of the quantitative research and qualitative comments, which were provided by a random sample of the students.

The students’ views were gathered from an anonymous questionnaire conducted in

January 2012 and the comments are shown in Table 2. The comments suggested:

 Students gained greater insight into A level economic concepts.

 Students gained greater awareness of the mathematical techniques used to calculate measures of income inequality.

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 Difficulty arose where students were unfamiliar with some of the software packages.

 Students were able to use online material, but it presented greater difficulties compared to students who attended the timetabled lessons.

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Student 1 The detail given to how concepts work such as the Lorenz curve and Gini coefficient was most helpful. The large amount of links to learn more information.

Student 2 The economic topics as they helped to contribute to the topics I was learning in my economics lessons.

Student 3 As I am intending to enter the finance industry, it was a good insight into the sort of operation I’ll be doing. The calculations were tough however, but I’m sure with more time studying the course the calculations wouldn’t seem too bad.

Student 4 The economic topics as they helped in the topics I was learning in my business studies lessons.

Student 5 I felt the additional information provided in email attachments was very helpful in allowing me to complete the assignments and learn about the topics being covered and how maths is used in finance.

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Student 6 The interesting choice of topics relating to the world today.

Student 7 I found using the geometric series was the most useful it helped me in my maths lessons also.

Student 8 The history and application of theory/concepts used for example work on Lorenz curve and gini coefficient. Also discussions were helpful during lessons.

What did you find most difficult to understand in this course (and why)?

Student 1 How to use the student loan calculator, or excel programs, and the significance at each point.

Student 2 The algorithms in the main side as it you hadn’t used certain software, you had to learn how to use the program first in order to be able to do the work.

Student 3 Understanding some of the complex calculations because they are slightly different from AS level maths.

Student 4 The algorithms were the most difficult to understand.

Student 5 Initially I found the pivot tables difficult as I did not understand what to do however after reading through again, I managed to understand them better.

Student 6 I studied the material online and was sometimes not which PowerPoint/documents to use at which time (I have lessons first thing on Wednesdays).

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