Education Committee Report on Financial Education in Schools

A new Education Committee report published last Wednesday has called on the Government to improve the provision of financial education in primary and secondary schools.

Believe it or Not, Financial Education IS Part of the National Curriculum

Despite financial education formally being part of the national curriculum since 2014, most children are still not taught it on a comprehensive level.

Since then, financial education has failed to materialise as a stand-alone subject, there have been continued disagreements over which lessons should accommodate financial education, and teachers have not been properly trained in teaching the subject.

Summary of Recommendations Made by the Education Committee

Financial education needs to be expanded in schools, beginning in primary school years to help foster the development of financial literacy in children. They recommended making PSHE compulsory in both primary and secondary schools and to make sure financial education is taught within it. However, we should bear in mind that academies and free schools are not required to follow the national curriculum

The mathematics curriculum needs to be reviewed from key stage 1 to key stage 4 to make sure there is more financial education content taught in mathematics in primary and secondary schools that is relevant and age-appropriate

We should provide students post-16 with financial education. They have suggested that this could act as a helpful alternative to the GCSE mathematics retake for those who do not achieve a grade 4 or above in their exams. They suggested that the Department for Education should consider opportunities for a specific financial literacy qualification which could fit into the Advanced British Standard

Appoint a financial education coordinator who would be appointed by each school or multi-academy trust. This person’s role would be to help create a cross-curricular approach wherein financial education is integrated into various subjects

They expressed concern about the suitability of some branded resources which are produced or endorsed by banks or other commercial organisations. They believe that there needs to be a focus on creating high-quality teaching materials by working alongside subject associations, professional bodies, and other government departments. Essentially, financial education needs to come from a place of impartiality without any agenda other than helping promote financial literacy

Improve the training and teaching materials offered to teachers by offering training at an early stage through initial teacher training and ensuring that opportunities to enhance their knowledge of financial education are continuously available. There appears to be a continued emphasis here on trying to get maths teachers to teach financial education and now this is being expanded to other subjects, but the issue remains where the people we are expecting to teach financial education are not financial experts. Maybe it’s time for us to stop expecting teachers to take on the additional task of teaching a whole new subject they don’t necessarily have a full breadth of knowledge on. We need to have experts teaching financial education, just like we do for every other key subject in schools

No UK nations have volunteered to participate in the OECD’S PISA financial literacy assessment, which assesses the financial literacy attainment of pupils aged 15. They believe that by participating in this, we could gain valuable insight into areas of financial education that need to be developed within the school curriculum. They recommend that the government participate in the next assessment in 2025

Overall, there are some strong recommendations for improving the state of financial education in our schools. However, considering that financial education was added to the national curriculum in 2014, it is difficult to understand why we are still in the same boat that we were in ten years ago…

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