Teachers Advocate for the Commencement of Financial Education in Primary Schools
Financial Education
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According to a survey, the majority of teachers, more than three in four, believe that children should begin learning financial education in primary school. The survey, conducted by YouGov for the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS), revealed that an overwhelming majority of teachers in the UK think it’s crucial for children to receive financial education before entering secondary school. The poll, which involved 1,012 teachers, highlighted that 76% of them agreed that most students graduate from school or college lacking the essential financial skills needed for adult life. The government-backed body, MaPS, warned that hundreds of thousands of young people may be leaving school each year without adequate financial preparation.

More than a quarter of teachers, 26 percent, advocate for financial education to commence at nursery level, while 44 percent suggest introducing it to children between the ages of five and seven, and 19 percent prefer starting between ages eight and eleven. The Money and Pensions Service (MaPS), an arm’s-length body sponsored by the Government, is urging for the early introduction of financial education in children’s lives.

Money education is typically included in the curriculum, often integrated into subjects such as mathematics and numeracy, citizenship, and personal development across all four UK nations. However, MaPS notes that the timing of when schools provide this education to young learners varies.

A survey conducted online in November revealed that almost all teachers, 96 percent, consider it important for schools to teach students about money. When asked to identify reasons why students were leaving school or college without essential money skills, nearly four out of five teachers, 79 percent, cited other subjects taking precedence over financial education.

Approximately one-fourth of teachers mentioned that teaching staff lacked confidence or skills (25 percent), or they were uncertain about where to access the appropriate support and resources (26 percent). Other key reasons cited by teachers included the complexity of financial topics and products (20 percent), the sensitive nature of money as a topic (18 percent), and lack of interest among young people (15 percent).

Lisa Davis, senior policy manager for children and young people at MaPS, remarked, “Teachers offer valuable insights into the lives of young people, and their message is clear: too many students miss out on essential money management skills. This shortfall may result in hundreds of thousands of individuals leaving school each year ill-prepared to handle their finances. As a consequence, they are less likely to comprehend financial products, save money, or engage in discussions about finances. Moreover, they are more susceptible to making poor financial decisions, thereby jeopardizing the future financial wellbeing of the UK.”

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), emphasized the necessity for an expanded focus on financial education within the curriculum. He stressed the importance of equipping young people with the skills to navigate the world safely and securely as they transition from school or college, with making sound financial decisions being a crucial aspect of this preparation.

Sarah Hannafin, head of policy at the school leaders’ union NAHT, echoed this sentiment, stating that schools aspire to offer students a comprehensive and well-rounded curriculum that adequately prepares them for the challenges and responsibilities they will face in adulthood.

“Financial education plays a crucial role in safeguarding children from a range of complex financial risks, such as gambling, scams, in-game purchases, and online exploitation,” noted the speaker. “Moreover, promoting financial wellbeing is essential for supporting the mental health of children and young people.”

“However, schools already face challenges in covering the National Curriculum and meeting qualification requirements within the allocated time,” the speaker continued. “These challenges are further compounded by government policies and high-stakes accountability measures that prioritize specific subjects.”

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