The Money Charity & MaPS Financial Foundations Covid-Impact Rapid Literature Review

Today, we welcome the publication of The Money & Pensions Service (MaPS) Financial Foundations Covid-Impact Rapid Literature Review, researched and written for MaPS by The Money Charity, the UK’s Financial Capability charity.

The review details the deep and widespread impacts on school education, brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, highlighting challenges for the delivery of Financial Education while schools are focused on educational catch-up. It would be easy to take a negative reading, but in our view, there are rich opportunities as well.

The most striking finding of the review is the lack of mention of Financial Education in nearly all the reports on the impact of Covid-19. In fact, in all the literature reviewed, the team found only one reference to Financial Education. We think this is in part because Financial Education, despite being in the curriculum, has not yet been properly established in the teaching programme followed by all schools, and in part because it has been overshadowed by other educational challenges created by Covid-19.

However, this under-representation can be turned into an opportunity. In our view, there are three things the Financial Education sector and its funders can do.

First, digitalisation. Covid restrictions stimulated the beginning of a digital revolution in schools with teachers using new platforms and resources to reach their learners. Financial Education can extend its reach using online and mobile delivery (including recorded virtual delivery), games and financial simulation packages integrated into broader learning and that learners can use independently.[1] MaPS and other funders may wish to consider supporting and funding the accelerated digitalisation of Financial Education in schools and other Young People settings.

Second, promote Financial Education within the school programme. The experience of home schooling and distance learning during the pandemic gave many parents a taste of their children’s study and is reported to have produced a desire for a “much broader and more rounded education… grounded in real-world examples and practical opportunities”.[2] Learners have expressed similar sentiments to us.[3] Financial Education has the great advantage that, as well as its links to many parts of the school curriculum (maths, citizenship, PSHE, literacy etc), it is one of the foundations for everyday life, whether in the workplace, further education, business or civic participation and can meet parents’ and learners’ desire for real-world, practical applications.

Third, link Financial Education to recovery from the health and educational impacts of the pandemic. Financial Education develops skills in reading and maths, as well as in broader subjects such as PSHE, history, economics and citizenship. Money is one of our key social institutions, with a rich and interesting history. Using money involves key mathematical skills, such as powers of ten, operations[4] and compound interest. Learning how to manage money well develops key life skills such as planning for the future and making choices between present and deferred value. These are key mental building blocks, the acquisition of which can help students recover from the educational deficits caused by the pandemic.

The pandemic has also demonstrated the link between financial stress and damage to mental health. The development of good financial skills can address this and contribute to improved mental health for young people, an outcome we all wish to see.

We thank the MaPS team for their assistance and support in taking the report through the editorial and design stages to publication and look forward to participating in the strategies developed to take advantage of the above opportunities.

 

[1] See for example the Australasian financial education platform: www.banqer.co

[2] The Edge Foundation 2020

[3] Interview with The Money Charity Young People team

[4] Adding and subtracting, multiplying and dividing etc