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Calls to add financial education to England’s curriculum, and other insight from the Financial Education Forum

The Financial Education Forum, hosted on Wednesday 13th October, was the first in-person meeting since October 2019, hosted by the Bank of England. Amongst renewed calls for financial education and money skills to be prioritised, this forum focused on financial education for primary aged children set against an increasingly challenging backdrop. Having attended previous Forums virtually during the pandemic, I was impressed with how Young Money and the Bank of England approached the first hybrid event, with both in person and virtual attendees, and use of online polls throughout.

Introducing the event James Bell, Executive Director of Communication, Bank of England focused on the need for financial education to be introduced to young people earlier than it currently is, with 7 suggested to be the ideal age. He also drew attention to the welfare benefits that come with good financial literacy, something that we at Hopscotch have been exploring with a number of clients; Government policies and strategies around finance, that ultimately impact wellbeing, only really work if people have the literacy and understanding.

Sharon Davies, Chief Executive Young Enterprise & Young Money, noted that with the last two academic years proving to be particularly disruptive to schools and families, and the main priorities at schools being the catch up curriculum and closing the attainment gap, understandably the post-pandemic education landscape is a challenging environment for financial education. She highlighted that showcasing aspirational outcomes for young people in financial education, at the same time as complimenting the curriculum, supporting community engagement, and upskilling is essential to driving financial education forward.

Along with many other attendees, I was glad to hear that Young Enterprise has written to ministers emphasising the importance of financial education and how it can be developed further, showcasing how it can contribute to school priorities. This is in line with the APPG on Financial Education for young people – Inquiry on Primary-school aged Financial Education which recommends financial education is added to England’s curriculum consistent with other UK nations, with the goal of improving financial capability in 2 million more young people by 2030. But is this goal ambitious enough? Many are calling for the financial capability of all young people to be improved by 2030, not just a select number.

Key findings also included:

  • Only 33% of primary students recall having received financial education
  • Access to financial experiences and products are getting younger and younger, through smart phone technology, and provision of bank cards at a younger age
  • Transactions are becoming less tangible, children aged 3-4 learn through observation and are not seeing cash payments, but more contactless, or even getting cash back
  • Parents play an important role that in informing decisions and habits
  • Interventions provided are not one size fits all, they need flexibility and differentiation for each school

The key recommendations, drawing on the Inquiry and other organisations in the financial sector, focused on England matching the other nations’ curricula where financial education is compulsory to maximise young people’s prospects for the future. Introducing finance and money to students much earlier than it currently is, and encouraging studies and research into the benefits of financial education on overall financial capability, was also shown to be a key priority. We’re looking forward to seeing how the Government addresses these concerns and outlines the next steps for financial education in the UK.

About the author

Eloise Turner

Eloise has gained lots of marketing and comms knowledge having worked with a range of organisations in the education, women’s health and global logistics industry. With experience in content creation, copywriting and social media she brings her passion for reaching the younger audience when working on projects for Sport England, LifeSkills created with Barclays and RSPCA.

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