It's been confirmed to Money Saving Expert this morning that financial education will form a part of the compulsory national curriculum in England. It's to be a part of citizenship for 11-16 year olds and will be taught in all maintained schools.

The result is a triumph for financial education campaigners.

In a draft version of national curriculum guidelines, the Government says it wants financial education to be added to the compulsory subject of citizenship, which currently lacks any information on personal finance.

Citizenship education equips young people with the knowledge, skills and understanding to play an effective role in public life. Currently pupils learn about their rights, responsibilities, duties and freedoms and about laws, justice and democracy.

Key Points

  • Financial education could be taught in schools
  • Government has announced plans to add it to curriculum
  • has long campaigned for this

Money Saving Expert and its creator Martin Lewis have long campaigned for financial education to become part of the national curriculum (see our Financial Education page), and this is a step in the right direction.

More than 118,000 people signed our petition on the issue in 2011.

Today's proposals are under consultation until April this year – though they are expected to pass through – with the final version planned to be with schools by September 2013.

The proposals are due to be enshrined in the curriculum from September 2014.

What do the guidelines say?

The Government says it wants students to be equipped with the "financial skills to enable them to manage their money on a day-to-day basis as well as to plan for future financial needs".

It says it wants pupils in Key Stage 3 - ages 11-14 - to be taught the functions and uses of money, the importance of personal budgeting, money management and a range of financial products and services.

Older students in Key Stage 4 - ages 14-16 - will be taught about wages, taxes, credit, debt, financial risk and a range of more sophisticated financial products and services.

Step in the right direction

Money Saving Expert founder Martin Lewis says: "For over 20 years we've educated our youth into debt when they go to university, without educating them about debt.

"We desperately need to break the cycle of financial illiteracy in the UK – one of the causes of our current economic crisis and a huge contributor to continued mis-selling epidemics.

"Education is a cheap and easy way to fix the problem. Until now, while the public has clamoured for it, and over 100,000 supported the e-petition on it, political action has been flaccid.

"So, I am jumping for joy at the news of financial education joining the national curriculum as a part of citizenship for the first time – providing, of course, the detail lives up to the announcement.

"What's most important is the Government has done this in citizenship, which is a compulsory subject.

"This, therefore, is the first step to ensuring that every child has at least some basic financial education to help them navigate our complex consumer economy. A genuine game-changer."

Personal Finance Education Group (Pfeg) chief executive Tracey Bleakley says: "This is a huge victory for the campaign for financial education in schools. Financial education is essential in equipping young people with the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to be able to manage their money well."

Justin Tomlinson MP, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Financial Education for Young People (APPG), says: "This is wonderful news and a huge victory for our campaign. I am delighted that financial education has finally been given the place it deserves as a compulsory part of the National Curriculum.

"Generations of young people will now gain the knowledge and skills they need to be able to manage their personal finances. This will make a real and lasting difference to financial capability in our country."

Financial education campaign

The Government's announcement comes just over a year since Money Saving Expert's petition forced Parliament to debate putting financial education on the national curriculum.

It supported work carried out by the APPG.

Chaired by Justin Tomlinson MP, the APPG is one of the largest currently in operation with support from around 236 MPs and backing by Pfeg, the UK's leading financial education charity, as well as many other organisations.

During the debate, Schools Minister Nick Gibb agreed to consider financial education during the curriculum review.