Financial Education in New National Curriculum?

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.

Financial Education Compulsory For Schools?

UK Government to consider making financial education a compulsory part of the school curriculum.

Earlier this week, the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Financial Education for Young People, which has the support of 226 MPs and Peers, issued a report calling for compulsory money lessons.

Pictured is Daniel Britton from The Financial Fairy Tales with Martin Lewis and Carol Vorderman at the House of Commons Launch. Daniel contributed evidence to the enquiry based upon his extensive experience with financial education from primary schools to young adults.

One of the main recommendations is teaching split between maths and Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) studies.

Government pledge

Nick Gibb, Minister for Schools, said: “I think we’re all in agreement about the importance of good quality financial education. It is true that young people are growing up in a materialistic world that they are not prepared for.”

Gibb added the Government said the APPG report’s proposals will be included in a review of the national curriculum.

He also confirmed PSHE won’t be compulsory in the curriculum but it is possible for elements of it to be compulsory, of which financial education could be one part.

Earlier today, Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, writing for MoneySavingExpert.com, said young people must be taught about money matters.

There was also much consensus in the debate that including financial education as part of maths could make maths a more attractive subject a move championed by TV’s Carol Vorderman

Conservative MP Justin Tomlinson, chairman of the APPG, led the calls for financial education to be made compulsory, and to be taught at both primary and secondary schools.

Tomlinson said the next generation needs to be equipped with the key skills to understand issues such as how to compare energy tariffs and how to calculate APR and interest rates.

He said: “We have a duty to equip people to make informed decisions, so they can understand the implications of what they are doing based on their own circumstances.”

Widespread support

Conservative MP Andrew Percy, chairman of the APPG inquiry, said at the debate: “This is about real maths skills, about using real life experiences to support the drive for ensuring our young people enter this complex financial world in a position to make better decisions.”

Labour MP Jenny Chapman said: “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”

Martin Lewis, MoneySavingExpert.com creator, says: “In many ways, this was Parliamentary discussion at its best. Of the members who were there, many noted the importance of the e-petition and the number of constituents who contacted them who said it was important.

“This is by no means the end of the battle but it is a firm foundation that slaps the campaign into ministers’ faces and leaves them in no uncertain terms that unless this is taken seriously, not just the signatories of the petition, but many MPs, will be on their backs.”

Download the full report from the pfeg website here

Financial Literacy in Schools

Thanks to the staff and pupils at Glanhowy Primary School in Wales, here is a video of their presentation showing how The Financial Fairy Tales stories were used with a year 2 class (approx 6 years old).

Primary / Elementary schools interested in teaching their pupils about money in a fun and interesting way can download free sample materials at www.thefinancialfairytales.com/schools

Financial Education in Schools Debate

Should financial education classes be compulsory in schools in England and Wales?

The video below shows a hotly contested debate about the role and place for financial literacy classes in schools.

Just who should be teaching children about money?