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Media Release

Excellence in education: Australians say teachers give life-changing lessons

Excellence in education: Australians say teachers give life-changing lessons

  • New research finds the majority of Australians (87 per cent) believe a good teacher can change a person’s life.
  • More than half (54 per cent) say they have had a teacher who influenced their life and contributed to their personal success.
  • Commonwealth Bank announces the winners of the 2015 Teaching Awards, celebrating teachers who have demonstrated excellence in developing the money management skills of their students.

More than four in five Australians (88 per cent) think it’s important to celebrate teachers who are inspiring excellence in the classroom, according to new research from CommBank.

The survey of 1,000 Australians revealed more than one in three (34 per cent) have had a teacher that has influenced their choice of career and the vast majority (87 per cent) believe a good teacher can change a person’s life.

Australians acknowledge the positive influence teachers have on both the professional and personal lives of their students, saying:

  • A good teacher helps students make better life decisions (85 per cent).
  • They have personally had a teacher who has influenced their life and contributed to their personal success (54 per cent).
  • They will never forget a good teacher (84 per cent).

The research comes as CommBank announces the winners of the 2015 Teaching Awards, which recognise and reward teachers who are committed to developing their students’ essential money management skills.

Commenting on the research, Kylie Macfarlane, General Manager Corporate Responsibility, Commonwealth Bank said, “There are so many creative and passionate teachers in Australia and it’s great to see the nation recognises the importance of celebrating excellence in the classroom.

“We believe that better schools make a better country, and great schools are built on great teachers. We congratulate our 15 Teaching Award winners this year on the positive impact they have had on their students and school,” she said.


Overall, Australian parents are confident they have strong financial skills with more than half rating their skills as above average (58 per cent). However, parents still look to teachers for help with more than half (59 per cent) not confident to teach their children money skills. The most common reasons cited by parents include:

  • Not feeling they are experts in the area (22 per cent).
  • Believing children are taught differently in schools today than when they were young (20 per cent).
  • Uncertainty around whether their children would listen to them (18 per cent).
  • Believing children have access to more information through the internet and social media (17 percent).


Most Australians (91 per cent) believe it is important for teachers to be involved in educating children about general money and financial management at school. The top five financial skills found to be the most important for children to learn at a young age include:

  • Saving money (73 per cent).
  • Knowing how to budget (72 per cent).
  • Differentiating between needs and wants (70 per cent).
  • Different ways of earning income (37per cent).
  • Balancing income (31 per cent).


The Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards recognise 15 teachers across Australia with $10,000 to further develop their financial education initiative, as well as an additional $2,000 personal reward for their efforts.

This year’s program has been extended for the first time to include four additional category winners – a National Winner, an Innovation Award, a Technology Award and a Speciality Award. The winners will be presented with their award by Ian Narev, Commonwealth Bank Chief Executive Officer, at a special ceremony in Sydney on Wednesday, 30 September.

“From using technology to connect senior school students as mentors to primary school students, or running an engaging training facility in an op-shop for special needs students, our winning teachers have designed outstanding programs to develop the essential money management skills of their students.

“We are delighted to recognise these excellent teachers and are inspired by their dedication,” said Ms Macfarlane.

The Teaching Awards form part of CommBank’s 25-year commitment to improving Australian education outcomes. This includes an initial $50 million investment over the next three years. CommBank is making this commitment to education because it understands that better schools make a better country.

For more information on the 2015 recipients, their specific programs and the Teaching Awards,



Notes to editors:

About Commonwealth Bank in the community

The Commonwealth Bank has been actively supporting the Australian community since it opened its doors in 1912. The Bank, together with its community partners and people, achieves social outcomes that enrich the communities in which it operates. Some examples of the Bank’s work in the community include Start Smart, Community Grants, Teaching Awards, Clown Doctors, CommBank Cricket Club and other programs in the arts, sport, welfare, Indigenous communities and the environment. For more information,

About this research

  • This study was conducted online among a representative sample of Australians aged 18-64 years.
  • The sample was 1,003 respondents, distributed throughout Australia including both capital city and non- capital city areas.
  • Galaxy Research designed the questionnaire, a copy of which has been included in this report.
  • The questionnaire was transferred into Web Survey Creator in order to be hosted online. For each question the respondent had to click on the response which represented their answer.
  • Fieldwork commenced on Friday 4 September and was completed on Monday 7 September, 2015.
  • Following the completion of interviewing, the data was weighted by sex, age and region to reflect the latest population estimates.