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Most teachers believe pupils lack financial understanding

Research from Nutmeg also found that a third of students said financial education made no difference to their confidence in financial decision-making

Posted by Julian Owen | August 21, 2019 | Law, finance, HR

Nearly two-thirds (60%) of UK teachers believe students leave school with a poor level of financial understanding, according to new research* from digital wealth manager, Nutmeg. 

The report found that the UK is rated below average when it comes to teaching finance in schools, despite it being a mandatory part of the curriculum. 37% of students in the relevant age bracket said they aren’t or weren’t taught finance at school. 

While three-quarters (74%) of teachers felt that financial education is as or more important than non-core subjects like history and geography, 42% of them scored their own financial knowledge at five out of 10 or lower. Whether this is due to the curriculum, lack of resources or their own attitude towards finance is unclear, but teachers felt that their students were similarly struggling, with 60% believing that they leave school with a poor level of financial understanding.  

Lisa Caplan, head of financial advice at Nutmeg, said: “At a time when personal debt in the UK is at record highs, pension pots are falling behind and mortgage and rent costs are rising, we need to be doing more to ensure young people aren’t left making big financial decisions without enough understanding.” 

Two-thirds (67%) of pre-curriculum respondents agreed that if they’d learnt more about personal finance at school, they would have more confidence with their finances as an adult. The research suggests that current teaching of financial education is not having the necessary impact, with nearly half (44%) of those exposed to financial education in schools not knowing or feeling that they could confidently manage financial products. A third (34%) of post-curriculum respondents said that lessons made no difference in how confident they feel in their financial decisions. 

Nutmeg has partnered with Young Enterprise to deliver and mentor students through a financial education in schools programme, designed to help them think differently about their finances and provide practical skills.   

Russell Winnard, director of programmes and services, Young Enterprise and Young Money, said: “Young Money is proud to support educators to develop and embed high quality financial education to suit their educational setting. We do this by ensuring teachers and practitioners have access to training and resources which enable them to develop and deliver high quality financial education on a sustainable basis. This whole school approach is most evident in our centres of excellence programme - supporting schools to become beacons of good practice for financial education. We are really pleased to be working with Nutmeg to support a new centre of excellence, increasing the total number to over 160 throughout the UK." 

Caplan concluded by saying that good financial education “can be the difference between a smooth financial journey or sleepless nights, so we believe a real focus needs to be put on ensuring young people are receiving [it]”. 

For more information visit: https://www.nutmeg.com/nutmegonomics/financial_education/

* Total sample size was 1,100. The online survey targeted 500 respondents age 16-19, 500 respondents age 21+ and 100 teachers.

 

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