Labour MP Thomas Docherty has introduced a private member’s bill in the Commons yesterday calling for financial literacy to be included in the national curriculum.
The bill is due to be debated in January. Mr Docherty told Central Lobby that savings expert Martin Lewis, whose ePetition on the issue has attracted more than 118,000 signatures, has done much to bring the issue to public attention.
"There is also a recent report from the Royal Bank of Scotland that suggested that something needed to be done," he said.
"One of my wittier colleagues suggested that the banks themselves might need financial literacy, but in any case, if we want young people to take responsibility to be able to manage their own finances there is no better place to do that than in schools as they are growing up."
Mr Docherty’s bill, which received its formal first reading in the Commons yesterday, calls for financial literacy for teenagers.
"It should be part of the provision of the national curriculum," he said.
"It is obviously right that the government decides what the priorities are, but it seems absurd to me that there is no requirement to teach financial literacy to 14 to 16 year olds.
"One of problems we have in this country is many school leavers get their first pay packet and they have no idea how to manage it. A lot of what Citizens Advice Bureaux deal with is school leavers not understanding how to manage their weekly or monthly finances."
While Mr Docherty does not rule out financial education for younger school pupils, he wants “a common sense approach".
"If we can start with 14 – 16 year olds and see how that succeeds it is a step at a time," he said.
pfeg, (the Personal Finance Education Group) are in complete agreement with Docherty that financial education ‘should be part of the provision of the national curriculum’. This recommendation was also made by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Financial Education, for which pfeg provides the secretariat, in the Financial Education and the Curriculum report released in December 2012.
Mark Fiander, the Strategy and Innovation Director, at the Money Advice Service said:
"We want everyone to be financially capable. Equipping young people with money skills for life is a key foundation for achieving this goal and we believe an essential building block is the provision of financial education in schools. This is why the Money Advice Service fully supports the work of the APPG on Financial Education for Young People on developing sustainable model for educating future generations. The introduction of Mr. Docherty’s bill - calling for financial literacy to be included in the national curriculum – is a step towards getting this issue back on the agenda. We look forward to the debate early next year".
The second reading of the bill is due in January 2013. A review in to the national curriculum is currently in progress. pfeg would recommend that discussions on the inclusion of financial education in the curriculum are advanced as soon as possible to guarantee consideration from the Department of Education.