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Closed petition Make financial education compulsory in all schools from primary age

The Government should make financial education compulsory in all schools starting from primary age. Maths is all well and good but when it comes to teaching kids how to manage money in the real world, the curriculum is failing them.

More details

We believe financial education is a life skill that, like swimming, is best taught young. We want to make financial education compulsory in all schools from primary age - just like swimming. There has never been a more important time to prioritise money skills. By making space for financial education in all schools, the government can help drive levelling up, social mobility, and financial equality.

The curriculum doesn’t add up - let’s #makemoneycount

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Government responded

This response was given on 21 February 2024

Financial education is a vital life skill and is already compulsory in the national curriculum for citizenship (at Key Stages 3 and 4) and within mathematics (Key Stages 1 to 4).

Read the response in full

Economic and financial education are important parts of a broad and balanced curriculum that provide the essential knowledge to equip young people to manage their money well and make sound financial decisions.

Financial education is compulsory in the National Curriculum for citizenship (at Key Stages 3 and 4) and mathematics (Key Stages 1 to 4).

The National Curriculum is compulsory in maintained schools. Academies and free schools have greater freedom and autonomy in how they operate, but they are expected to teach a curriculum that is comparable in breadth and ambition to the National Curriculum, and many choose to teach the full National Curriculum to achieve this. Primary schools can choose to teach citizenship at Key Stages 1 and 2.

Primary mathematics focuses on the essential arithmetic that underpins pupils’ ability to manage budgets and money, including for example calculations with money and percentages. The secondary mathematics curriculum develops students’ use of mathematical knowledge to interpret and solve problems such as interest rates.

The non-statutory primary citizenship curriculum covers the functions of money and the benefits of saving. It makes clear that financial contexts are useful for learning about making choices. In secondary citizenship, pupils learn to manage their money well through content that includes budgeting, credit and debt, pensions, and financial products and services. Using technology safely is taught at all Key Stages of the computing curriculum; and statutory Relationships, Sex and Health Education covers the risks of online gambling and the accumulation of debt.

Good numeracy is the gateway to lifelong financial stability. Evidence from the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (1) suggests a strong correlation between financial literacy and performance in mathematics. There was also a positive correlation between financial literacy and learning finance-related terms at school. Since 2010, we have transformed mathematics teaching by introducing the mastery pedagogy used by top performing East Asian countries, to secure a deep understanding of mathematics. The 2023 Ofsted mathematics report (2) highlighted “notable improvements” at secondary, with a “resounding, positive shift” in primary mathematics over recent years.

The Money and Pensions Service published the UK Strategy for Financial (3) Wellbeing 2020 and the delivery plan for England (4). The Money and Pensions Service has a statutory duty to coordinate the work of organisations involved in delivering the strategy goals related to improving the financial capability of children and young people. The Department for Education is working closely with the Money and Pensions Service to deliver teacher webinars this academic year, focussed on teaching about money in a cashless society.

As with other aspects of the curriculum, schools have flexibility over how they deliver financial education so they can develop an approach that meets the needs of their pupils. But there is a wide range of support available for schools; for example, the Money and Pensions Service has published guidance (5), setting out how schools can improve the financial education they deliver, and signposting to services and resources that can help.

Further support for schools includes fraud education (6) from the Home Office and HMRC Tax Facts (7). The Department has published guidance on teaching about online safety (8) across the curriculum. Oak National Academy is providing free, optional and adaptable resources to support the full curriculum. Oak has published its initial resources in mathematics, with the full curriculum available by this autumn. As part of this, Oak is exploring including additional lessons in real life mathematics. Resources for secondary citizenship will become available from autumn 2024 and will be complete by autumn 2025.

(1) https://www.oecd.org/education/pisa-2018-results-volume-iv-48ebd1ba-en.htm
(2) https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/subject-report-series-maths
(3) https://maps.org.uk/en/our-work/uk-strategy-for-financial-wellbeing
(4) https://maps.org.uk/en/our-work/uk-strategy-for-financial-wellbeing/delivery-plan-for-england
(5) https://maps.org.uk/en/publications/research/2021/financial-education-guidance-for-primary-and-secondary-schools-in-england
(6) https://www.teachingcitizenship.org.uk/resource/fraud/
(7) https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/tax-facts-for-children-and-young-people/tax-facts-resources-for-teachers-and-parents
(8) https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/teaching-online-safety-in-schools/teaching-online-safety-in-schools

Department for Education

MPs investigate financial education in schools

A group of MPs called the Education Select Committee are looking into how financial education in England can be strengthened.

The Committee is considering issues including:
- What young people should be taught about money
- How to improve the delivery of financial education
- How to support teachers and schools to deliver financial education
- How pupils can be better equipped with financial management skills
- Whether financial education should be extended to primary schools and post-16 education

Read the Committee's press notice announcing this work for more information.

What happens next?

The Committee is going to conduct oral evidence sessions where they will hear from key stakeholders as well as the Government.

An evidence session is a hearing where MPs ask key experts, such as Ministers or campaigners, questions on a particular topic. These experts are called "witnesses" and they help MPs to gain a deeper understanding of the topic. The Committee will then consider all the evidence it has taken and publish a report of its findings with recommendations to the Government on any changes that might be needed.

For more information about the inquiry, visit the Committee's inquiry page.

What is the Education Select Committee?

The Education Select Committee scrutinises the work of the Department for Education and its associated public bodies. It examines government policy, spending and administration on behalf of the electorate and the House of Commons. It's a cross-party committee and is independent of the Government.

-Find out more about the Committee on its website
-You can get updates on its work by following the Committee on X, formerly Twitter

The Education Committee is a ‘select committee’.

Watch this video to find out how Select Committees work.

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