Financial education comes in many forms, but until recently, formal finance lessons have not been a conspicuous part of the UK curriculum. With debt and earnings irregularities placing pressure on family finances, lack of financial understanding has come to light as a potential problem for novice money managers. Many Britons, it appears, lack the tools to effectively tend to their household finances. As a result, a push has been on to increase access to practical finance education in UK schools. A recent shipment of textbooks, funded by Money Saving Expert founder, Martin Lewis, represents a step in the right direction, boosting young people’s financial savvy.
As part of a general move to strengthen financial literacy in the UK, 3,400 state-funded secondary schools received free copies of an important financial education textbook – the first of its kind in UK institutions of education. Each of the schools received 100 free copies funded by the Lewis donation.
Strengthening Financial Education in Secondary Schools
If you’re under the impression basic financial education is a core school subject, taught in most schools, you may be surprised to learn Your Money Matters is a groundbreaking publication in UK education. The textbook is the first curriculum-mapped financial education book introduced to UK students.
Though financial education is part of the national curriculum for secondary schools, less than half of UK institutions furnish regular instruction on the subject. Your Money Matters aims to fill the gap, providing a consistent resource for students and teachers.
The book was compiled by the financial education charity, Young Money, with input from Mr. Lewis. It is designed for 15 and 16 year-old students, covering common financial topics such as:
- Student Loans
- Identity Theft
- And others…
It is thought financial education lags, in part, because some teachers are not comfortable with their own knowledge and understanding about the important consumer area. The textbook is seen as at least a partial solution to the problem, facilitating consistency and continuity across UK educators.
Although financial education was added to the national curriculum in 2014, lack of teacher training and a shortage of school resources have slowed implementation of the new standard. It is thought Your Money Matters will make it easier for teachers and students to get on the same page, boosting financial literacy.
According to Mr. Lewis, financial education can have a sweeping impact on future family finances. He points out the breadth of the UK sales economy and the complexity of consumer finance relationships, underscoring a historic lack of “buyer’s education,” helping young people work out financial matters. His gift of books strengthens the foundation for finance education, but Mr. Lewis nonetheless cautions against complacency, pointing out that less than half of schools follow the national curriculum.
In the Book
The financial education textbook, Your Money Matters, uses facts, figures, and interactive activities to drive home finance education. It is broken down into chapters covering common financial concerns, such as making the most of your money, protecting your financial security, and measuring financial risk and reward.
In the book’s section on borrowing, students learn how to avoid unmanageable debt balances, calculate APR, and compare financial products. Further information is available online, where would-be borrowers can evaluate various lenders and apply for financing, with or without a spotless credit file. In the book’s chapter about saving money, students are exposed to proven saving strategies and learn how to work out interest on savings accounts. The section also explores the relationship between money and mental health.
Adding to the momentum driving financial education in the UK, the timely release and gift of thousands of copies of the book Your Money Matters represents another giant stride in the march for better financial literacy among UK consumers. Bringing the consistent, standardised material into schools provides a link connecting students and educators, united in the effort to boost financial understanding at a young age.