When kids aged 11-16 go back to school in September, there will be a new lesson to attend – financial education. Within these lessons, pupils will solve money-related maths problems and learn about public finances, pensions and how to budget.
A taster session was carried out in Heartlands High School and received mixed reviews from the pupils. Karim Blake said it’s probably just as important as business studies or English, while Manal Chaib says teenagers shouldn’t be so concerned with savings,
“We are teenagers. We should be able to spend on what we want. You should start worrying when you are 16 … I don’t want to get: ‘You are going to have a rubbish future.'”
The taster workshop is being run by MyBnk, a company that has so far helped 80,000 children understand the difference between ‘needs and wants’, banking, enterprise and how to save. Founder Lily Lapenna started the charity after recognising young people’s struggle to cope with financial debt.
“We need to teach students to manage money. That was not the prevailing attitude pre-crash where thoughts were, they will learn from their parents. Demand has skyrocketed … Next year we are targeting a doubling of our reach to 40,000 young people.”
One of the education officers from MyBnk, Tope Chiedozie, says these lessons are vital to help young people understand the basic concepts of earning, saving and spending before they leave home. He also believes the skills can help them immediately – many schools have newsagents and chip shops nearby and when you see how much children are spending a week it can be quite shocking.
Campaigners for financial education say that the government shouldn’t stop here. Research from Cambridge University suggests that adult money habits become set by the time a child reaches the age of seven. The charity, Personal Finance Education Group (Pfeg) believes financial lessons should be taught in all primary schools, including free schools and academies that are not bound to teach the national curriculum.