Schools fail pupils on financial capability

Schools are neglecting to effectively teach financial capability as part of personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE), a government commissioned report has found.

The study, by Sheffield Hallam University, found that school staff frequently viewed the economic wellbeing part of PSHE education as separate to wider PSHE teaching. This meant the subject was rarely properly integrated into PSHE lessons.
According to researchers, financial capability teaching was “often led and taught by different members of staff from the personal wellbeing elements [of PSHE]”, and was “seldom given the same priority or prominence”.
A number of teachers in both primary and secondary schools claimed financial capability teaching was problematic, with around half of primary school teachers and a quarter of secondary school teachers describing lessons in the subject as “less than effective”.

Part of the reason for this, the report found, is that PSHE teachers are not yet experienced in delivering financial education, since the new programme of study for economic wellbeing and financial capability has only been in place since 2008.

Meanwhile, today (31 January) sees the launch of a All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on financial education. 

The APPG will be led by Justin Tomlinson MP (Conservative), Duncan Hames MP (Liberal Democrat) and Stella Creasy MP (Labour).

It will provide a platform to make sure young people are equipped to make informed financial decisions; help make resources and qualifications available to young people in education; support schools in the delivery of financial capability; and encourage the introduction of a requirement on schools to provide financial education.

Rod McKee, head of financial capability at the IFS School of Finance, argued that schools need more structured financial education.

“We are delighted to see the launch of an APPG on the issue,” he said. “Giving teenagers the skills, confidence and knowledge to make informed financial decisions can only be achieved if sufficient time is devoted to the subject, rather than bolting it onto other subjects.

“The provision of financial education is less effective when there is a reliance on delivering it through other subjects such as maths and citizenship or through generalised topics in PSHE. This APPG will provide us, and other like-minded organisations, with a forum to make that evidence-based argument to parliamentarians.”

Source: Children and Young People Now – 31Jan11 (Nicki)


About dbda
dbda is a corporate social responsibility consultancy embracing education and safety in the community. We are privileged to work with a large number of blue chip corporate clients, Government organisations, charitable bodies, Institutes and local authorities. We also have a network of schools, professional bodies, associations, universities and partners, with whom we regularly work in collaboration.

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