Teachers need more confidence to teach personal finance in schools, according to a survey by the Financial Services Authority (FSA).
The FSA’s School Benchmark Survey of 1,000 schools across the UK reveals that even though the majority of schools in the UK believe personal finance education is important, less than a third of those teachers providing it feel confident doing so.
Moreover, while 48% of primary schools and 91% of secondary schools say they are delivering some form of personal finance education, the FSA is concerned about the range of topics delivered and the frequency and extent of coverage.
Among schools delivering personal finance education, this mostly takes the form of occasional lessons and often happens less than once or twice a term, while only a small proportion (around 25%) of schools monitor its impact.
When asked what priority schools gave to personal finance education, just over half of secondary schools and around a third of primary schools said they gave it a very or fairly high priority.
The most common topics covered in primary schools are the importance of looking after money (88%) and the purposes money can be used for (86%), while the most common topic in secondary schools is budgeting and managing personal money (93%).
Meanwhile, schools which are not delivering personal finance education say the main reason is lack of space and time on the curriculum, and among primary schools there is a common perception it is not appropriate for the age group.
Among secondary schools 41% of those not delivering personal finance education have plans to do so in the future, while only 12% of primary schools have plans to introduce it.
John Tiner, chief executive of the FSA, says: “If financial education does not become more widespread there are serious consequences for young people. The experiences of their elders have already shown us that those who struggle to manage their finances will be less effective at work, their relationships will suffer, and debt may spiral out of control.”
The government has committed to giving personal finance greater prominence in the revised curriculum in 2008, and the FSA hopes its Learning Money Matters scheme – part of its National Strategy for Financial Capability – will help schools prepare for the planned changes.
If you have any comments you would like to add to this story or would like to speak to its author about a similar subject, telephone Emily Perryman on 020 7968 4554 or email [email protected].IFAonline
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