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Finance professionals urge the government to expand mandatory financial education

Financial Education

Judges of the Interactive Investor Personal Finance Teacher of the Year Awards 2021 have written an open letter urging the government to expand mandatory financial education in the UK.

The letter, which will be sent to the Department for Education and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), calls for financial education to be implemented in both primary schools and sixth-form colleges. Financial education was only introduced to the secondary school curriculum in September 2014.

The letter also calls for mandatory finance lessons in academies, private schools, and faith schools, where it is currently optional.

Despite the introduction of financial education, secondary schools in England only teach a limited number of money-centric lessons, because it has been added as a small part of the citizenship or maths syllabuses.

In contrast, Wales have introduced a rigid structure in which calculations in sterling are taught at primary school age, and harder topics such as compound interest are taught in secondary school.

Financial literacy is often learned in adulthood

Richard Wilson, chief executive officer of Interactive Investor, isn’t happy with the way financial education has been implemented. He believes that the number of children leaving school without a rudimentary knowledge of personal finance is unacceptable.

He said: “Let’s make 2022 the year that the government starts taking financial education seriously. It needs more time on school timetables and better resources and guidance made available.”

The 2020/21 Young Person’s Money Index, conducted by the London Institute of Banking & Finance, indicates that 83% of students would like to learn more about money and finance in school.

Beyond the basics, much of what you’ve learned about finance likely came after you left school. If you left secondary school before 2014, it’s possible that you never received any formal teaching on financial literacy at all.

Many investment platforms and robo-advisers have tried to combat this lack of knowledge by providing comprehensive guides and learning resources on their platform.

We’ve also recognised the need for further financial education and have produced a range of guides to help you better understand the world of finance and investing.

eToro, Nutmeg, and CIRCA5000 are just some of those that provide supplementary material to their users, aiming to help first-time investors better understand financial concepts.

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