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First-ever financial education textbook arrives in Scottish schools, funded by Martin Lewis

Martin Lewis facing camera and holding copy of financial education textbook

The first-ever curriculum mapped financial education textbook – funded jointly by MoneySavingExpert founder Martin Lewis and the Money and Pensions Service – has now landed in secondary schools in Scotland, following the successful roll-out of versions in England and Northern Ireland.

Nearly 27,000 hard copies of the Scottish version of the Your Money Matters book have been delivered for free to over 350 schools in Scotland. It follows the launch of a digital version of the textbook in Scotland in March 2021, as well as an accompanying online teacher's guide and a PowerPoint version for use in lessons, which were all made available for free to support home learning.

You can download a copy for free

Digital copies of the guide, and in some cases teachers' guides too, are available for anyone to download for free: 

In Scotland, the government-funded Money and Pensions Service (MAPS) and Martin Lewis have split the cost of the £98,000 project to deliver the book to Scottish schools. The books are being delivered by education charity Young Money, which is part of charity Young Enterprise.

They are based on the original English Your Money Matters textbook, which Martin funded solely with a donation of £325,000 to Young Money. English secondary schools received 340,000 copies in 2018, while 15,450 copies have been delivered to schools in Northern Ireland to date (again, the Northern Irish version was jointly funded by Martin and MAPS). Digital copies can also be downloaded for free (see the links above).  

Martin: 'Young people are professionals at learning. If you want to break the cycle of debt, they're the best place to start'

MoneySavingExpert.com founder Martin Lewis, who donated to support the textbook in a personal capacity, said: "The pandemic has shown the lack of personal financial resilience and preparedness of the UK as a whole. Not all of that can be fixed by improving financial education, but a chunk of it can. Of course, we need to educate people of all ages, yet young people are professionals at learning, so if you want to break the cycle of debt and bad decisions, they're the best place to start.

"I was one of those at the forefront of the campaign to get financial education on the curriculum in England in 2014, and we celebrated then thinking the job was done. We were wrong. Schools have struggled with resources and there's been little teacher training.

"Something else was needed to make it easy for schools and teachers. So even though I questioned whether it's right that a private individual should fund a textbook, no one else would do it, so I put pragmatics over politics and did it in 2018.

"I'm delighted that now we've proved the success of that book in England, the Money and Pensions Service has agreed to team up to provide this much-needed resource for Scotland – adding a rightful sense of officialdom to the whole project."

The textbook gives students essential knowledge about money

The Scottish edition of Your Money Matters is designed for S4 and S5 students aged 14 to 16, though it can also be adapted for use by both younger and older students. It has been produced with support from Education Scotland.

The educational textbook contains facts and information, as well as interactive activities and questions for students to apply their knowledge. The chapters are as follows:

  1. Savings – ways to save, interest, money and mental health.
  2. Making the most of your money – budgeting, keeping track of your budget, ways to pay, value for money, spending.
  3. Borrowing – debt, APR, borrowing products, unmanageable debt.
  4. After school, the world of work – student finance, apprenticeships, earnings, tax, pensions, benefits.
  5. Risk and reward – investments, gambling, insurance.
  6. Security and fraud – identity theft, online fraud, money mules.

Sample questions from the book

Below are some sample questions from the book to test your knowledge (answers at the bottom of the story – no cheating...):

1.  Do you know what your personal savings allowance is?
2.  What does the term PAYE stand for?
3.  Explain the difference between a standing order and a direct debit.
4.  How might changes in the UK base rate of interest affect borrowers?
5.  What is phishing?

'It is vital that firm financial foundations are put in place as early as possible in their life'

Geoff Leask, chief executive at Young Enterprise Scotland said: "In an increasingly complex world, where young people face a huge variety of financial decisions, it is vital that firm financial foundations are put in place as early as possible in their life."

Allison Barnes, Scotland manager at The Money and Pensions Service, added: "We know that learning about money when we're young can have a direct impact on our ability to manage money later in life. However, only 45% of seven to 17-year-olds in Scotland recall having had any financial education at school, which means too many young people are at risk of entering adulthood without being prepared for the money-related challenges that lie ahead. 

"The launch of the Your Money Matters textbook in Scotland is a vital step towards equipping schools with the support they need to bring financial education to the forefront within the classroom and beyond. The financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic means that building money skills and confidence has never been more vital."

Shirley-Anne Somerville, Scotland's education secretary, said: "I am pleased that this valuable resource for young people has been adapted for use in Scotland by Young Enterprise and that all secondary schools will receive copies. I am grateful to Martin Lewis, Young Money and the Money and Pensions Service for ensuring Scotland’s teenagers can engage with and learn from this excellent resource."

Answers to the sample questions

1. A basic-rate taxpayer (20% tax on income) can earn £1,000 interest on savings per tax year without paying tax on it. Higher-rate taxpayers (who move into the 40% tax bracket) can earn £500 interest on their savings before being taxed. Additional-rate taxpayers (whose income extends into the 45% tax bracket) get no allowance.

2. Pay as you earn. This is the way most employees pay tax – it is deducted by the employer – so the amount of money received comes after tax is taken off.

3. Standing order: You are in control. You instruct your bank to pay the money to a particular person or company, and it is your responsibility to change the payment details (eg, the date or amount) if they need to be changed.

Direct debit: An instruction to your bank to release money from your account to pay bills and other amounts automatically. The billing company has control.

4. The official UK interest rate (often called the base rate) is reviewed and set eight times a year by the Bank of England. Many lenders, especially with mortgages, tend to move their rates in line with this rate – so when it rises, so do they. Some rates are directly linked to it, but at other times the lender can choose whether and how much it tends to match it depending on its own competitive advantage. Yet some rates, such as fixed-rate mortgages or high-interest credit cards, may not move at all.

5. Phishing is a criminal activity which attempts to mislead people into providing personal information and often bank account details. This is often done online through the sending of fake emails or pop-up messages.

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