Financial Education To Become A Compulsory Element Of The National Curriculum In England From September 2014

From September 2014, all children in England will attend lessons on how to manage their money for the very first time following years of campaigning by various groups, including MPs, the financial education charity pfeg and founder of the popular money advice website, Martin Lewis. The revised national curriculum will soon include financial education as part of mathematics and citizenship education at secondary school level, with skills such as budgeting and borrowing being taught.

According to the new curriculum, citizenship lessons should: “prepare pupils to take their place in society as responsible citizens by providing them with the skills and knowledge to manage their money well and make sound financial decisions”.

As well as learning the importance of budgeting and financial planning, children will also be taught about different financial products and services, and learn about the different functions and uses of money. They will also be taught about public finance, including how state money is raised and spent.

While this might all seem like a fantastic – and much needed – step forward, but English schools are actually somewhat behind the times, as personal finance is already part of the curriculum in schools in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Martin Lewis started an e-petition calling for the introduction of financial education, which raised 118,000 signatures, and called the announcement a “boon for the country” and said he was “jumping for joy at the news”. Nevertheless, he went on to say:

“However, as the national curriculum is only compulsory for around half of schools; the rest due to being free schools or academies don’t need to follow it – the campaign doesn’t stop here. The next step is to ensure parents, teachers and head teachers of the other schools realise its importance and teach it as well, even though they don’t have to.”

On his website, he expressed just how important this move is:

“For over 20 years we’ve educated our youth into debt when they go to university, without educating them about debt. We desperately need to break the cycle of financial illiteracy in the UK – one of the causes of our current economic crisis and a huge contributor to continued mis-selling epidemics.”

The What, When and How

Right from the beginning of secondary education, children will start to learn about the uses and functions of money and basic money management. They will be taught how to understand simple interests and solve and devise problems in financial mathematics.

From the ages of 14 to 16, they will then start to learn about wages, as well as taxes, credit, debit and financial risk. They will also be introduced to a more sophisticated range of financial products and services than those they learn at key stage 3 (age 11-14).

More Financial Advisors in the Future?

With children growing up with a better understanding of finance, it can only be hoped that more will become inspired to start a career in finance later in life. Financial Advisor courses could well see a surge in popularity and the nation as a whole could start to move away from being subjected to payday loans and colossal APRs to a financially stable future.

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