We’ve delivered nearly 900 classes on financial skills for 22,000 secondary school students in Wales over the last six years. We’ve seen that Wales is, by many measures, ahead of the rest of the UK in providing financial education for young people. It was made part of the curriculum in 2008, six years before England, and the Welsh Financial Education Unit (WFEU) is in place to provide support to teachers and schools.
Insufficient time, lack of necessary skills among teachers and financial education being taught within the Maths curriculum, not making inroads into whole-school curriculum planning. These are all familiar problems for those of us working in schools, and borne by our recent research.
We welcome the findings of the report and agree with the recommendations. The focus on embedding financial education in the whole school curriculum in particular is a vital recognition that financial skills go far beyond the purely mathematical.
In our recent report, we argued that schools should be supported to build up their own capacity to deliver financial education in house, but also that schools and policy makers must embrace and pour resources into using outside experts to deliver financial education directly.
But the Estyn only tackles the first half of this. Unfortunately, nearly seven out of ten teachers don’t believe that their schools are equipped with the skills required to teach financial education. More than 80% believe that teachers need outside help.
At The Money Charity we would be very happy for teachers to be trained so that schools were in a position to deliver the entirety of a good financial education. But in the current circumstances, any healthy provision of financial education must involve a mixture of outside expertise and additional work from school staff.
The Estyn report is a welcome analysis, but we believe it does not sufficiently recognise the role of direct delivery in its recommendations.