New guidance launched to help schools improve children’s money skills

New financial education guidance for primary and secondary schools in England has been launched today, with the support of the Department for Education (DfE). The guidance, which has been developed by the(MaPS) in its role as coordinator of the 10-year UK Strategy for Financial Wellbeing, is aimed at encouraging conversations about money in the classroom by setting out ten steps schools can take to boost the delivery of financial education.


The launch coincides with this year’s Talk Money Week campaign, which has highlighted the importance of money conversations in the home, alongside more formal financial education, in developing good money habits in childhood which will last a lifetime.

Children who say they learned about managing money in school are more likely to save up frequently and be more confident managing their money. With only 37% of 7- to 17-year-olds in England recalling having had any financial education at school, equipping teachers to have conversations about money in the classroom is vital. Learning about topics such as budgeting, saving, and managing credit in schools is essential to ensure children gain the skills and confidence they need to manage money now and in later life.  


Developed in consultation with financial education experts and DfE, the guidance is designed to support school leaders and education decision makers to enhance the financial education currently delivered in their schools to make it memorable and impactful.


Instead of adding to teachers’ workloads, the guidance highlights the links between financial education and the existing curriculum. Suggestions include introducing a financial education lead, putting in place targeted support for children with additional needs, consulting parents and students, and approaches to embedding learning about money throughout school life. The guidance also points to a range of financial education services and resources to help schools, including those targeted at children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities.  


The Minister of State for School Standards, Robin Walker MP said: “Building knowledge of money and financial matters from an early age can support resilience and wellbeing through life and it is important that children and young people develop strong financial knowledge, skills and habits to stand them in good stead as they prepare for life in the modern world.


“Many schools already deliver excellent finance education through their mathematics and citizenship lessons and today’s guidance will support schools to deliver a broad and balanced curriculum.”


Caroline Siarkiewicz, Chief Executive at MaPS said: “Less than half of 11- to 17-year-olds feel confident managing their money, and almost a fifth of 16- and 17-year-olds report feeling anxious when thinking about their money. Financial education in school – alongside support at home and in the community – is key to helping children build the foundations needed for their future financial wellbeing and resilience. This guidance will equip schools with the tools they need to bring financial education to the forefront within the classroom and ensure it is impactful and engaging.


“Financial education plays an important role in helping children and young people make the most of their money as adults, whether that is understanding how to read a payslip, how to decipher a bill or the importance of planning ahead. The financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic means that building money skills, confidence and resilience have never been more vital.”


Jonathan Baggaley Chief Executive at the PSHE Association said: It is vital that children and young people learn early on how they can make informed financial decisions to help them prepare for the financial risks and responsibilities that exist in adult life. PSHE (personal, social, health and economic) education can play a vital role in financial education, starting in primary school. Whilst it’s fantastic that health and relationships education is now compulsory, teachers should also be encouraged to focus on economic wellbeing as a core part of PSHE lessons. The MaPS guidance will support our membership of teachers greatly in this respect.”


Liz Moorse, Chief Executive of the Association for Citizenship Teaching said: “Teaching pupils about money matters and how the economy works is more important than ever. We welcome the publication of this new guidance for schools which highlights the importance of Citizenship education in equipping pupils with the essential knowledge, concepts and skills to make informed and responsible financial choices in their lives today and to understand the importance of good decision making and planning for their future.”

The guidance forms part of a broad programme to expand financial wellbeing provision in schools across the UK as part of the UK Strategy for Financial Wellbeing goal of two million more children and young people receiving a meaningful financial education by 2030. MaPS funds the Financial Education Quality Mark, delivered by Young Money part of Young Enterprise, which helps teachers find quality assured resources to teach children and young people about money. To support schools to take part in Talk Money Week 2021, MaPS published the first Talk Money Week Toolkit for Schools, giving education settings easy access to programmes and resources that can help them bring conversations about money to life.