Education Committee launches inquiry into strengthening financial education
16 November 2023
MPs today launch a new inquiry into how financial education can be strengthened throughout primary, secondary and further education.
There is broad agreement that financial education – teaching children and young people skills and knowledge to manage their financial decisions – needs to be reviewed.
The subject has been part of the National Curriculum for local authority-run secondary schools since 2014. For those schools it is taught in Citizenship lessons, with some elements also included in mathematics. But academies and free schools can opt out of teaching it, while some choose to include it in Personal, Social, Health and Economic education (PSHE).
In recent years there have been campaigns for financial education to be introduced as a compulsory part of the primary curriculum and for more content to be compulsory.
The cross-party Committee will explore reasons why the subject is often overlooked and how well schools and teachers are supported to deliver it. A 2022 Bank of England-commissioned survey found that almost two-thirds of teachers felt there wasn’t time or resources to fit it into the school year.
The Centre for Social Justice has called for an “urgent rethink” of the way we approach financial education. The think thank carried out research last year that found two-thirds of young adults who experienced financial difficulties believe better financial education could have helped them.
After questions about the practicalities of the Government’s ambition that all 16-to-18-year-olds should study some form of maths, the Committee is interested to examine whether financial education could form part of the post-16 curriculum to better prepare young people for adult life and to support progression.
Education Committee Chair Robin Walker MP said:
“Today we are launching a new inquiry into how financial education can be more strongly established in the National Curriculum.
“As a backbench MP I supported the cross-party campaign to ensure it became a part of the curriculum. But almost a decade later, there are still plenty of concerns that students and teachers feel that not enough financial education is being delivered.
“With families and young people continuing to feel cost-of-living pressures, the case for equipping children of all backgrounds with the life skills and knowledge to help manage their money feels as strong and timely as ever. In surveys of young people, financial education is frequently identified as something that they want more of.
“The Committee is also very aware of the strain many teachers and school leaders are under and is reluctant to place extra demands on their time. This will be among our key considerations when examining how best to embed this subject into the curriculum from ages 11 to 16, and whether including more of the content in mathematics may offer the most logical solution.
“With the input of academics and experts, and working with the profession, we hope to contribute ideas of how best to build financial education into the primary school curriculum, and look at what role it could play in the Prime Minister’s aim of incorporating a form of mathematics study for all at post-16. Teaching young people these practical skills could help boost engagement in a subject that some find abstract or challenging.”
Call for evidence
To inform its inquiry, the Committee is now accepting written evidence submissions that respond to the following terms of reference. MPs want to hear from a range of sources but particularly teachers, pupils, and school administrators. Information on how to submit evidence online by Friday 15 December is available here.
- What should we be teaching young people about money? What should financial education include and are there any aspects missing from the current provision?
- Where should financial education sit within the National Curriculum between the ages of 11 and 16? To what extent does its current position within the curriculum limit the amount of delivery time it receives? Should financial education form part of a core subject, such as mathematics?
- What steps should be taken to support teachers and schools in their delivery of financial education?
- Should the provision of financial education in schools be extended beyond key stages three and four. Is there scope for it to be embedded more extensively at primary-school level?
- The Government has outlined proposals to ensure that all students study some form of maths up until the age of 18 – should financial education be included in these plans and, if so, how?
Examples of best practice in teaching financial education are welcomed.