Financial literacy education became part of the National Curriculum for the first time in September 2014, as part of citizenship education in key stages 3 and 4 (ages 11-16).
The Citizenship programmes of study make provision for pupils in key stage 3 (aged 11-14 years) to be taught about:
- the functions and uses of money
- the importance and practice of budgeting
- managing risk.
And pupils in key stage 4 (aged 14-16 years) to be taught about:
- income and expenditure
- credit and debt
- savings and pensions
- financial products and services
- how public money is raised and spent.
Additionally, the new mathematics curriculum is intended to ensure that 'all young people leave school with an understanding of the mathematics skills needed for personal finance'. As a result, financial literacy has to be taught in local authority maintained schools. However, 64% of secondary schools and around 18% of primary are now Academies, and don't have to follow the National Curriculum (although most do).
A common complaint of employers (and some parents) is that young people leaving school are poorly prepared for the real world; including lacking the ability to make informed decisions about personal finances.
In 2016, a Money Charity Report found that 'financial education had low priority in schools, leading to inadequate resourcing'. The report also claimed that only just over a third of teachers believed colleagues in their school had the skills required to teach financial education.
Financial education can also be taught as part of non-statutory Personal, Social, Health and Economic education (PSHE). Following a review of PSHE, in March 2013 the Coalition Government announced it would remain a non-statutory subject and that no new programmes of study would be published. The Conservative Government has maintained the position that PSHE will not be made statutory and confirmed this stance in February 2016.
The PSHE Association – which was set up in 2006 with government funding to help raise the quality of PSHE teaching – has produced a revised programme of study (non-statutory) for PSHE for pupils in key stages 1 to 4 (ages 5-16).
It proposses that pupils in key stages 1 and 2 (ages 5-11) should be taught about:
- where money comes from, keeping it safe and the importance of managing it effectively
- how money plays an important part in people's lives
- a basic understanding of enterprise.
And suggests that pupils in key stages 3 and 4 (ages 11-16) should be taught about:
- how to make informed choices and be enterprising and ambitious
- about the economic and business environment
- how personal financial choices can affect oneself and others
- rights and responsibilities as consumers.