Do Schools Spend Enough Time Teaching Financial Lessons?

Personal financial understanding is accumulated over the course of a lifetime. Lessons are learned the hard way, at times, sometimes leaving people with regrets, for not having better financial sense. This knowledge vacuum, which can result in hardship, presents a strong argument for getting a basic financial education, early on.

Are UK schools doing enough to provide financial lessons?

According to some observers, UK schools are not serving this vital educational function – failing to impart valuable financial lessons students need to successfully navigate monetary matters. Most importantly, research indicates parents are not satisfied with the level of financial learning taking place in UK schools.

Parents Call for Financial Skills at School

According to a recent poll undertaken by the financial education charity, MyBnk, parents of school pupils would like to see greater emphasis placed on financial education in the classroom. In fact, most parents surveyed appear willing to divert time spent on other national curriculum subjects to increase the focus on financial literacy among school-aged children.

The study, conducted with the help of MUFG Bank shared that parents believe schools are falling short, with 54 per cent indicating they want more time spent teaching kids about personal finance. The research showed an overwhelming majority of respondents, 90 per cent, want financial education to remain a permanent part of the national curriculum.

As part of a multi-national push to increase awareness about finance education, MyBnk has pledged to do its part. The charity is set to engage about 1,400 individuals, ranging in age from 7 to 25, in an effort to boost financial understanding. The organization will conduct “money masterclasses” and “enterprise challenges” in at least 14 schools and through partnerships with youth organisations nationwide.

Spokespeople for the group acknowledge that teachers are pressed for time, trying to impart a well-rounded curriculum. And that finance education appears to be a top priority for parents. Of those participating in the MyBnk polling, only 26 per cent called for more teaching about relationships and families – a clear indication of parents priorities surrounding financial instruction in the classroom.

Financial Lessons May Play a Bigger Role in National Curriculum

Financial education is already part of the national curriculum. It is taught in maths and citizenship. However, money lessons aren’t compulsory as a part of personal, social, health, and economic education (PSHE). The Department for Education is currently responding to consultation about this very issue, which may result in changes, requiring all students to learn about personal finance in the PSHE portion of the national curriculum.

The move would essentially expand the scope of economic lessons, ensuring each student has adequate exposure to the lessons needed to find financial success. As the financial world grows more complex, it is thought young people have an even greater need for financial instruction. Education continues for a lifetime, so using every available resource helps adults stay informed. From web pages comparing loan terms and interest rates for no credit check borrowers, to money charity programs providing financial insight, adults have access to the information they need. Advocates want children to have the same opportunities to increase their financial knowledge.

Even the Church of England has put forth opinions about financial lessons, drawing a comparison to sex education. According to the religious body, financial education is as important to children as learning about sex is. It is thought the strong emphasis on lessons about relationships and sex may be eclipsing money learning, which could be detrimental to children’s healthy financial development.

In support of these conclusions, the Archbishop of Canterbury pointed to research indicating that financial attitudes and behavior are already setting in by age 7. It is felt financial education at an early age can help children from falling into problem debt, later in life. And that learning about money is essential for maintaining healthy interpersonal relationships in adulthood.

Financial education advocates have partnered with charities and other finance entities, pushing for a better financial curriculum in schools. Changes are most likely on the horizon, particularly in light of support from most parents and many social organisations.

Paul graduated in 2001 with a degree in Finance. Since then he has gone on to work for several of the UK's most well-known financial institutions.

An avid blogger and a huge football fan, Paul is here to guide you through the ins and outs of personal finance and perhaps save you some money in the process!

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