IFAs will be brought in to teach financial planning lessons to schoolchildren, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA), has confimed.
In an exclusive interview with IFAonline, the QCA confirms schools will invite local advisers to supplement teachers’ lessons with seminars on personal finance.
The QCA published guidelines for a recommended financial education syllabus, called ‘economic wellbeing’, for 14 to 19 year-olds yesterday.
Gary Forest, strategic manager of work-related learning at the QCA, says the programme is about “people rather than paper” and children will learn about finance through contact with financial experts, case studies and simulations.
He says the QCA needs “the support of IFAS, banks and other financial services".
“Young people should have access to finance specialists," he says.
"At a local level schools may choose to involve a local representative of a bank or a local financial provider.
"What we wanted was teachers teaching it in an interesting way, not about providing dry information on paper but engaging with local industry.
“We’re not looking to create a demand which the industry isn’t satisfied with; we’re realistic about what local schools can expect from finance. In some way they will have direct and indirect contact with people form finance.”
Graham Worral director of Cyberifa, an online IFA service, says schools will have to hire expert advisers as teachers are "suspicious" of finance.
“Teachers - bless them - as financial advisers know, tend to include some of the most difficult clients for advisers.
"Of course no stereotype is worth betting on. You will find stories common amongst IFAs…that whilst they do not grasp the issues properly, they are very suspicious and they trust their own rather misguided and poor research.
"They often depend very heavily on their own excellent superannuation scheme for cover and savings - and as public servants have a mistrust of the private sector."
He adds: “They also hate speaking to someone that knows more than they do.
"A good teacher has the technique to teach anything but teachers according to this stereotype would have neither the personal experience nor the insight to put the subject across well.”
He adds: “I was put off by the prescriptive nature of the Stewart Ivory syllabus but I think many of us would be happy just to give off the cuff seminars, and these could provide proper insights for pupils.”
The FSA runs a financial planning resources programme for teachers alongside the Personal Finance Education Group (PFEG), an education charity.
The scheme helps teachers to access personal finance education materials and provide face-to-face consultancy support for schools to help curriculum development and classroom practice.
The Scottish Centre for Financial Education has promoted financial education in schools since 2002 by running workshops, seminars and conferences.
It also provides resources to teachers and parents. The General Consumer Council for Northern Ireland also promotes financial planning in schools.
Worrall suggests the QCA risks pupils leaving school with outdated advice, which could lead to bad investment choices.
He says: “Whilst there may be basic principals and these might be worthwhile grasping, the legislation governing tax treatments and pension provision.
"An example is the subject of government whim and it will be dangerous for a pupil, making decisions 10 years later, to apply what he or she learned at school.
"The chancellor, if he is anything like Gordon Brown, will have not just moved the goal posts but built a new school on the football field itself.”
Forest says the QCA will update certain material in the economic wellbeing syllabus as products and legislation change. ISAs, for example, will be updated regularly.
He says: “Any detail of financial products and services used by schools would be those which are relevant at that particular time. The QCA is saying those will change as time goes on.”
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