England is lagging behind the rest of the UK in the financial education it provides to its primary school children. Currently, it is only included on the curriculum in secondary schools as a part of Maths and Citizenship lessons in England. Primary education only covers basic lessons about money, such as the use of pounds and pence.
This contrasts with the rest of the UK in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland where financial education, including planning ahead and keeping money safe is part of the national curriculum for those as young as three.
This disparity in primary education standards across the UK leaves children in England at a significant disadvantage. The educational playing field must be levelled up to become one that matches or surpasses other countries in the UK, and internationally.
Financial understanding and literacy must form a crucial part of every child’s education to enable them to better manage their money and planning their own financial futures. The lack of primary level financial education in England has a knock-on effect later in life in England when compared to the rest of the world – especially for women . For example, 47% of women in Hong Kong, China and Singapore have above average levels of financial education. When turning back to the UK, levels of above average financial education are 20% less than the figure in Asia. In fact, UK women are nearly three times as likely than Asian women to perceive they have a low level of financial education.
Today marks the United Nations World Day of Social Justice for progressing social development. It recognises that the investment in living standards is key in tackling the challenges of financial crises, poverty and inequality on a global scale. The government says it wants to ‘level up’ the UK. It can’t do that if some of Britain’s children are not taught to the same level in finance. It’s time to ensure that financial literacy is a key part of every child’s life.
Kate Osborne MP, Labour MP for Jarrow and Member of the Education Select Committee
Kirsty Moore, Managing Director of HSBC Private Bank
The Rt Hon. the Lord Lipsey, Labour Peer and President of the Society of Later Life Advisers
The Rt Hon Sir Vince Cable, Former leader of the Liberal Democrats
Tamara Gillan, Founder of The WealthiHer Network
Calum Brewster, CEO of Brown Shipley a Quintet Private Bank
Layla Moran MP, Liberal Democrat MP for Oxford West and Abingdon
Louise Hill, Co-founder & Chief Operating Officer of GoHenry
Andy Rich, Managing Partner of HWFisher
Jonathan Gullis MP, Conservative MP for Stoke-on-Trent North, Kidsgrove & Talke
John Bunch, Chief Financial Services Director of Tilney Smith and Williamson
Virendra Sharma MP, Labour MP for Ealing, Southall
Yvonne Fovargue MP, Labour MP for Makerfield
Daisy Cooper MP, Liberal Democrat MP for St Albans
The Rt Hon. the Lord Rooker, Labour Peer
Sian Sutherland, Female Entrepreneur
Iona Bain, Financial Journalist and Broadcaster