Ev­ery child in UK has a right to a fi­nan­cial ed­u­ca­tion

Yorkshire Post - Business - - BUSINESS / NEWS - Greg Wright DEPUTY BUSI­NESS ED­I­TOR @greg­wrightYP

GREAT teach­ers form habits that last a life­time.

One of the best places for chil­dren to learn the art of fi­nan­cial man­age­ment is in the class­room. Pupils who leave school with­out a firm grasp on how to man­age their fi­nan­cial af­fairs are easy tar­gets for loan sharks.

You can imag­ine my hor­ror when a re­port landed on my desk which painted a som­bre pic­ture of the state of fi­nan­cial ed­u­ca­tion in UK schools.

The re­port con­cludes that fi­nan­cial ed­u­ca­tion is in­ad­e­quate and leav­ing young peo­ple un­pre­pared for life.

The re­search from The

Lon­don In­sti­tute of Bank­ing & Fi­nance, found that fi­nan­cial ed­u­ca­tion in schools is hap­pen­ing too in­fre­quently to make an im­pact.

Many young peo­ple are wor­ry­ing about their fi­nan­cial fu­ture, pre­sum­ably be­cause they lack con­fi­dence in their abil­ity to han­dle the stresses and strains of adult life.

For decades, ed­u­ca­tion­al­ists and in­dus­try lead­ers have been call­ing for a sys­tem­atic ap­proach to teach­ing per­sonal fi­nance. Su­per­fi­cially, things seem to have im­proved. The num­ber of young peo­ple re­port­ing they re­ceive fi­nan­cial ed­u­ca­tion in school has jumped, from 44 per cent in 2017 to 62 per cent in 2018.

How­ever, the amount of time spent on fi­nan­cial ed­u­ca­tion has dropped dra­mat­i­cally. Only 33 per cent of the chil­dren who re­sponded to the sur­vey said they had a les­son in the last month, com­pared with 43 per cent in 2017.

Wor­ry­ingly, 14 per cent said their most re­cent les­son was in the last term and, for 23 per cent, it had been a year or more since they’d had any fi­nan­cial ed­u­ca­tion.

The 2018 Young Per­sons’

Money In­dex found that fi­nan­cial ed­u­ca­tion is often in­cluded as a part of lessons about other sub­jects, such as maths and ci­ti­zen­ship.

Just three per cent of re­spon­dents re­ported hav­ing ded­i­cated per­sonal fi­nance lessons, which is an in­cred­i­bly small num­ber.

There is no ques­tion that young peo­ple want more guid­ance from teach­ers about man­ag­ing money. Around 71 per cent of the teenagers quizzed as part of the sur­vey said they were wor­ried about money, which is an in­crease on the 62 per cent recorded last year.

Alarm­ingly, 81 per cent of 17 and 18-yearolds said they were anx­ious about money prob­lems. Grow­ing num­bers said they are be­ing ex­posed to scams. Eighty three per cent of the young peo­ple sur­veyed said they wanted to learn more about money at school

Ali­son Pask, the man­ag­ing di­rec­tor for fi­nan­cial ca­pa­bil­ity and com­mu­nity out­reach at The Lon­don In­sti­tute of Bank­ing & Fi­nance, said: “The cur­rent ap­proach can only scratch the sur­face of what chil­dren need to know about money, mean­ing they’re woe­fully un­pre­pared for life.

“Be­ing able to cal­cu­late in­ter­est rates and un­der­stand some fi­nan­cial con­cepts is use­ful, but that doesn’t add up to a fi­nan­cial ed­u­ca­tion. “Fi­nan­cial ed­u­ca­tion is not be­ing given enough time in the class­room, it’s not be­ing taught in the right con­text and it’s not be­ing de­liv­ered fre­quently enough. “Young peo­ple need help un­der­stand­ing the prac­ti­cal­i­ties of man­ag­ing money – day-to­day and for the long term – and teach­ers need sup­port to de­liver that.

“We need to look at what’s be­ing taught, how that’s be­ing de­liv­ered and make sure there’s enough time on the cur­ricu­lum.

“Oth­er­wise we risk an­other gen­er­a­tion grow­ing up with­out the es­sen­tial knowl­edge they need to man­age money well.”

The Lon­don In­sti­tute of

Bank­ing & Fi­nance is call­ing for clearer guid­ance to be given to teach­ers about what fi­nan­cial ed­u­ca­tion should cover and for fi­nan­cial ed­u­ca­tion to be al­lo­cated at least an hour a week.

I would go fur­ther than this and call for a uni­ver­sal fi­nan­cial man­age­ment test for all pupils be­fore they leave school.

If you un­der­stand the dan­gers of stretch­ing your fi­nances, you are less likely to be an easy vic­tim for the army of crooks who prey on the vul­ner­a­ble. In a vir­tual age, where fi­nan­cial data can leak, it is wise to em­brace the virtues of pru­dence and dis­cre­tion.

When it comes to fi­nan­cial ed­u­ca­tion, no child should be left be­hind.

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