Financial education is back on the political agenda as Labour MP Thomas Docherty introduced a private member’s bill in the Commons calling for financial literacy to be included in the national curriculum. pfeg (the Personal Finance Education Group) who are the UK’s leading financial education charity and have been campaigning on the subject for 12 years welcome the bill and the opportunity to further the policy debate.
The bill follows the e-petition launched by Martin Lewis of moneysavingexpert.com calling for compulsory financial education in schools. The petition was one of the first to achieve 100,000 signatures and was debated in the House in December 2012.
pfeg are in complete agreement with Mr. Docherty that financial education ‘should be part of the provision of the national curriculum’. This recommendation was also made by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Financial Education, for which pfeg provides the secretariat, in the Financial Education and the Curriculum report released in December 2012.
Mr. Docherty went on to recommend starting financial education with students aged between 14 – 16 years old. pfeg advocates that financial education should be available to all children and young people aged between 4 – 19 years. This recommendation is in line with the recent Impact Review of Financial Education for Young People conducted by the Money Advice Service, which confirmed that attitudes to money are formed early. pfeg believes that financial education should begin as early on in a young person’s school career as possible and should continue in progressive way year on year.
This is a view strongly supported by Daniel Britton, author of The Financial Fairy Tales which help create positive values and money references from an early age.
Mark Fiander, the Strategy and Innovation Director, at the Money Advice Service said:
“We want everyone to be financially capable. Equipping young people with money skills for life is a key foundation for achieving this goal and we believe an essential building block is the provision of financial education in schools. This is why the Money Advice Service fully supports the work of the APPG on Financial Education for Young People on developing sustainable model for educating future generations. The introduction of Mr. Docherty’s bill – calling for financial literacy to be included in the national curriculum – is a step towards getting this issue back on the agenda. We look forward to the debate early next year”.
The second reading of the bill is due in January 2013. A review in to the national curriculum is currently in progress. pfeg would recommend that discussions on the inclusion of financial education in the curriculum are advanced as soon as possible to guarantee consideration from the Department of Education.
pfeg are firmly of the belief that financial education provision in schools is the most sustainable and ‘catch all’ solution to providing young people with the knowledge and skills they will need to manage their money, make key financial decisions and develop in to responsible consumers on leaving school.