Monday, 5 March 2018

Teach primary school children about money, says archbishop's charity

Primary school pupils should be taught how to manage money, according to a charity founded by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Just Finance Foundation, which provides training teachers and helps school savings clubs, said in a joint response with the Church of England to a Department for Education consultation that learning where money comes from, when to spend and how to save is vital to children's ability to navigate adult life.

It said teaching financial skills should be be a mandatory part of personal, social, health, and economic education (PSHE) in primary schools and warned that a 'strong focus on sex and relationships education' could squeeze out other important areas of the subject.

In its written submission, the Foundation highlights figures that show 40 per cent of UK adults have less than £100 in savings and that struggling to manage money is becoming a mainstream issue.

'Financial distress is on the rise in the UK. A recent report by the Financial Conduct Authority found that 50 per cent of UK consumers show one or more characteristics of financial vulnerability and the Money Advice Service estimate that one in six individuals in the UK are over-indebted,' the Foundation notes.

It refers to the pressure on younger generations of uncertain incomes, the impact of lifelong indebtedness, and high housing costs.

The foundation's executive direction Rowena Young said: 'Children growing up today face the most challenging and complex financial landscape of a generation. Education should reflect the times and there is a growing consensus that managing money should now form an essential part of setting children up for life.'

The Just Finance Foundation has published an interim report on the impact of its LifeSavers programme of financial education in 30 primary schools across the North East, Nottinghamshire, South East London and West Yorkshire.

The study showed that 90 per cent of participating schools agreed LifeSavers had improved the quality of financial education.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said: 'Research has shown that habits and attitudes to money are already being formed at the age of seven. LifeSavers helps primary schools and teachers embed financial education in ways that best meet the needs of pupils and local communities. The programme combines down-to-earth, practical experience and helping children explore what it means to be wise, generous, just and thankful with money.'

The initiative has also won the backing of chief economist at the Bank of England, Andy Haldane, who said: 'Having seen first-hand – indeed, participated in – the LifeSavers initiative at a school in Ashington, I know how big the benefits can be in getting money matters understood by children.

'This and the broader work of the Just Finance Foundation are important steps towards the crucial goals of improving financial literacy and money skills across the UK.'

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