I have welcomed a “huge victory” for the campaign for compulsory financial education in schools, following the publication of the new draft National Curriculum for England. The new curriculum will see personal finance taught in both mathematics and in citizenship education for 11 to 16 year olds, making financial capability a statutory part of the curriculum for the first time.
In December 2011 a cross party group of MPs published a report calling for financial education to be included in the national curriculum, to equip young people with the knowledge and skills needed to manage their money and make informed financial decisions.
The campaign has also been supported by national charity pfeg (Personal Finance Education Group), MoneySavingExpert.com’s Martin Lewis and tens of thousands of teachers and parents across the country.
In an ever increasingly complex financial world it is important that young people are fully equipped to make informed financial decisions. I welcome this huge victory in the provision of personal finance in schools.
But this welcome decision should be part of a wider package of reforms, to include ensuring that people do not get into debt with payday lenders, do not go to fee-charging debt management agencies when free advice is available but do have access to early advice to help them when they realise that they are getting into debt.
The new programme of study for citizenship education specifically includes:
• Key Stage 3 (age 11-14) – the functions and uses of money, the importance of personal budgeting, money management and a range of financial products and services
• Key Stage 4 (ages 14-16) – wages, taxes, credit, debt, financial risk and a range of more sophisticated financial products and services
In addition, the new curriculum places a ‘renewed emphasis’ on mathematics, including financial mathematics.