An inquiry into financial education in UK primary and secondary schools has been launched today.
In a bid to kick-start compulsory financial teaching the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Financial Education for Young People has launched its 'Financial Education and the Curriculum' campaign (see the Financial Education page).
This will see a UK-wide inquiry into the current level of financial education in schools with an aim to create a teaching model that equips young people with the skills and knowledge required to become responsible consumers.
The APPG, formed in January 2011, is one of the largest currently in operation, with support from over 215 MPs and backing by, amongst others, the Personal Finance Education Group (Pfeg) and MoneySavingExpert.com.
Money Saving Expert has long campaigned for personal financial education to be made compulsory in schools.
Martin Lewis, creator of MoneySavingExpert.com, says: "We're a financially illiterate nation with a massive personal debt problem, and we're about to treble student loans.
"We need to prepare young people for the debt they're getting into and 97% of people support financial education in schools. Everyone I speak to raves about how necessary it is – whether they're industry members, consumer campaigners, parents or kids.
"It's a complete no-brainer; the only thing people struggle to understand is why it hasn't happened already. This inquiry is so important. The principle is established; what's needed now is to work out how we practically educate our youth.
"Whether it's teachers doing the teaching themselves, specialists who teach at a collection of schools or bringing in people working in the industry, the aim is to work out how to support every school in finding the time and resource to make this happen. The Government won't be able to ignore the inquiry."
What will the inquiry involve?
MP Andrew Percy will chair the cross-party parliamentary inquiry with 10 MPs.
After taking written and oral evidence from the financial services industry, teachers and other interested parties, the inquiry committee will produce its report of recommendations on how to transform financial education in schools to establish a consistent and sustainable model for educating future generations.
The recommendations of the inquiry report will also serve as the APPG's response to the Government's review of the National Curriculum.
Percy says: "This inquiry will explore the level of finance education in schools, what works and what doesn't, and what can be learned from the different approaches to finance education taken forward by the education and financial sectors.
"Our consultation will establish the ground rules for successful and sustainable models that will make finance learning part of life in every school – but we can't get there without the evidence we need from those involved in bringing finance education to life.
"I urge everyone involved in this vital area of work to submit evidence to the Financial Education and the Curriculum Inquiry."
Those in the financial and education sectors, if they wish to do so, have until 3 May to give written evidence detailing the current approaches to financial education in the UK by visiting the PFEG website.
Teachers and schools are also invited to have their say by completing a survey, which can also be found on PFEG's site.
The inquiry committee will consider all responses when putting together its final recommendations for the report to be finalised in winter 2011.
Further reading/Key links
Financial education: Teen Cash Class
Student loans MoneySaving guide: Student Loans 2010/11
Student finance guide: Student MoneySaving
Student loans tool: www.studentloanscalculator.co.uk
Student loan help: Should I pay off my student loan?