Our views on Uk education policy
We were pleased to see the recent government announcements on the proposed changes to policy around financial education in schools and the call for more financial services companies to step up to the mark. Our five-year programme of ‘Money Money Money’ has taught us a lot about what is really needed to prepare the next generation of employees.
Working with our partners Magnified Learning, we have had the chance to take a proper look over the draft national curriculum document. Our impression is that it proposes little in the way of substantive change to the way things are done in schools.
As we see it, the key facts are as follows:
- ‘Financial capability’ has been part of the personal, social and health education (PSHE) curriculum for many years to little effect in very many schools
- ‘Financial capability’ – now branded ‘financial skills’ – is to be relocated in citizenship, following the removal of PSHE as a subject. At Key Stage 4 this entails teaching about “wages, taxes, credit, debt, financial risk and a range of more sophisticated financial products and services”
- Two brief references to financial education make their way into the Key Stage 3 maths curriculum, the most detailed of which refers to, “formal mathematical knowledge to solve and devise problems within and outside mathematics, including financial mathematics”
We don’t think this is enough. That’s because of what we’ve learnt from our ‘Money Money Money’ programme. So what we would like to see included in future classroom teachings is:
- Greater support for teachers – one reason financial education is not routinely taught as part of the existing maths provision is that many maths teachers feel unconfident about teaching it
- More emphasis on financial education – citizenship, like PSHE, has historically been an area in which schools have struggled, so adding financial education to the citizenship portfolio is not guaranteed to deliver effective learning.
- More input from industry – personal finance has been part of the curriculum in schools in Wales and Scotland for some time, however this has not diminished the schools’ appetite for ‘Money Money Money’ when it’s offered.
Our view is that the challenge teachers have faced in respect of financial education will not reduce in light of the proposals. Teachers have struggled to deliver financial education effectively without quality support from the sector and they will continue to struggle. In our opinion, schools will continue to place a premium value on any business offering high quality support to their students’ financial learning.
MONEY MONEY MONEY FOR 2013
With this in mind, we are clearly in an environment where the majority of young people need to be given the tools to cope with a variety of financial situations, rather than just saving for the short term. We will therefore continue to support ‘Money Money Money’ and help prepare thousands of school children for a life of financial awareness. We await the practicalities of the education changes to see if our Money Money Money programme will complement what will happen in UK schools.