Prime Minister David Cameron has today confirmed financial education will form part of the final draft of the national curriculum in England, to be implemented from September 2014.
MoneySavingExpert.com and its creator Martin Lewis have long campaigned for this. More than 118,000 people signed our petition to make financial education a compulsory part of the curriculum in 2011, which triggered a Parliamentary debate (see our Financial Education page).
A revised version of the curriculum has been published today, which sees more emphasis being placed on teaching students about money.
The Prime Minister made the commitment on ITV 1's This Morning programme, after a question by presenter Philip Schofield, responding to Martin Lewis' request to quiz the PM on the matter.
Cameron (pictured, right) said: "It's really important, this. It's in the citizenship curriculum, which starts from age 11.
"We have so many people in our country who struggle with how to understand how mortgage rates and interest rates and those sorts of things work, so it's there, and I think that's a good thing."
In February, it was first announced financial education would form part of the compulsory national curriculum in England, as part of "citizenship" for 11-16 year olds. Today's news reaffirms that decision (see the Financial education curriculum MSE News story).
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'Financial education has important part to play'
MoneySavingExpert.com creator Martin Lewis says: "After much scrapping, the Government confirmed financial education would be on the draft curriculum five months ago.
"The most important reason to ask the question today, now feedback is in, is to see if it watered down the plans.
"That is why I am delighted to hear from David Cameron's lips that financial education has an important part to play and I look forward to it being taught in September 2014.
"But with many academy schools no longer needing to follow the plans, there's still a task to ensure headteachers' desires to teach this crucial subject will be there, even when it isn't mandatory."
Today's final draft is under consultation until 8 August, with the Government hoping to publish the final national curriculum this autumn. It will take legal force for the majority of year groups from September 2014.
Personal Finance Education Group chief executive Tracey Bleakley says: "Today's news sees us moving towards achieving our ultimate goal of ensuring all young people leave school with the skills, knowledge and confidence to thrive and survive in society."
What do the plans say?
The revised national curriculum says students should be equipped with the "financial skills to enable them to manage their money on a day-to-day basis, and plan for future financial needs".
It says pupils in Key Stage 3 – ages 11-14 – should be taught the functions and uses of money, the importance of personal budgeting and managing risk.
Older students in Key Stage 4 – ages 14-16 – will be taught about income and expenditure, credit and debt, insurance, savings and pensions, as well as a range of other financial products and services.
Justin Tomlinson MP, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Financial Education for Young People, says: "This is a welcome leap forward towards ensuring the financial capability of the next generation.
"I am absolutely delighted that after two years of campaigning on this important issue, the Department for Education has given financial education statutory status in both mathematics and citizenship."