Children should be improving their financial skills

Guy Rigden

Guy Rigden

Time, scale and ensuring consistent quality are the main barriers.

Schools struggle to prioritise the time to prepare and deliver a specialist subject that is not examined, inspected or required to progress to the next stage, especially when the Department for Education give little mandatory time to it in the curriculum.

It becomes vital that the limited time available is used effectively through concentrated, relevant sessions using experts or well-supported teachers.

We must further look to extend time outside of school hours through supported, external content accessed directly by students.

It is hard for schools to ensure consistent quality in a minority specialist subject.

According to MAS offshoot, the UK Financial Capability Strategy, only 52 per cent of 5-17 year olds say they have had any sort of financial education, let alone something meaningful.

Provision is mixed and uneven, in particular, for the 16+ group. It is not sustainable to expect unsupported teachers to continue to go above and beyond in the classroom.

Unlike in academic subjects, most will lack the deep and relevant specialised subject knowledge.

Nor can we rely on well-intentioned but lightly-supported volunteers who lack teaching skills and life stage-relevant expertise.

A YouGov study by YFCG member MyBnk and funder MUFG Bank found that 54 per cent of parents agreed that schools should spend more time teaching personal finance, and 56 per cent would cut time from the core national curriculum to ensure their child received more money lessons in things such as budgeting and how to avoid unnecessary debt.

A way forward

Members of the YFCG bear the cost of the investment needed in quality across tens of thousands of teaching hours.

We have well-developed systems to select, train, test, support and monitor expert trainers, support teachers, and evaluate outcomes. Programmes are built with young people and monitored to ensure relevant and high-quality materials.

Last year, the DfE decided not to allocate specific time and resources to money lessons as part of Personal Social Health & Economic education.

Instead it made other life skills such as sex and relationship education compulsory. We can’t afford to wait for a change of mind so must do the best we can within the constraints.

Schools must consider whether and how they prioritise investment in their own staff.

Those that choose to have resources and support at their disposal, if not there are outside experts available. Ofsted’s proposed new inspection framework, presently under consultation, should help.

In making a judgement about personal development under the proposed new framework, inspectors will seek to evaluate the intent and quality of what a provider offers, but will not attempt to measure the impact of the work on the lives of pupils.