New financial education guidance for primary and secondary schools in Scotland has been launched today, endorsed by the Scottish Government. The guidance, which has been created by the Money and Pensions Service, as part of the drive to support financial wellbeing and the delivery of financial education for people across the UK, is designed to encourage conversations about money in the classroom. This follows the annual Talk Money campaign launched last week (9-13 November), which found that 37% of people in Scotland have kept secrets from loved ones about credit cards, loans, and savings.
Developed in consultation with financial education experts, the Scottish Government and Education Scotland, the guidance document is designed to support school leaders and education decision makers to enhance the financial education currently delivered in their schools and to make it memorable and impactful.
With only 45% of 7-17-year-olds in Scotland recalling having had any financial education at school too many young people are at risk of entering adulthood without being prepared for the money-related challenges that lie ahead. Equipping schools and teachers with the necessary support to have conversations about money in the classroom is essential to ensuring that children and young people have the opportunity to gain the skills and confidence they need to manage money now and in later life.
The guidance highlights the links between financial education and the Curriculum for Excellence and sets out the nine steps schools can take to boost the delivery of financial education, such as introducing a financial education lead, putting in place targeted support for children with additional needs, consulting parents and students and aiming for a whole school approach and signposting to services and resources that can help.
Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills John Swinney MSP said: “Our children and young people need a broad and dynamic bank of skills, knowledge and attitudes to thrive in the world around them, to achieve their potential and to navigate increasingly complex challenges and opportunities. Financial education is a vital component of this.
“This guidance from the Money and Pension Service provides an excellent account of the importance of financial education and wellbeing. It also presents a compelling case for school-wide and partnership approaches that can optimise reach and impact in the classroom, extending into homes and communities and building critical skills for life. Having been produced in collaboration with partners in the financial sector and the education, the guidance embodies the synergies that exist when we work together, with a shared ambition, to prepare our children and young people to be successful learners, responsible citizens, effective contributors and confident individuals in our society.
“My thanks to the Money and Pension Service and to those that helped shape this guidance. I am sure that it will provide welcome support and advice to teachers and practitioners across Scotland and I hope that it inspires an increased focus on financial education and wellbeing in schools and their communities.”
CASE STUDY – Financial Education delivered during Talk Money Week
Alloway Primary School in South Ayrshire participated in a finance-based ‘Escape Room’ during Talk Money Week this year (9-13 November), a game in which students worked together to accomplish finance based tasks to progress and ultimately ‘escape’ in a limited amount of time.
The different ‘rooms’ could only be entered using pre-bought tickets. Pupils in primaries 1-4 spent Talk Money Week earning money for their Escape Room trip through a variety of in-class activities. Each pupil had their own money box with plastic coins. They needed a certain amount to visit the Escape Room. Beyond that there were opportunities to discuss what they can do with any money left, for example, saving it.
The older pupils in primaries 5-7 did the same, with more emphasis on budgeting on the lead up to their visit to the Escape Room. There were opportunities to explore how having specific jobs allowed students to earn money and receive other benefits in future, helping the school to deliver as part of Developing the Young Workforce agenda. Using ‘credit/debit cards’ and spreadsheets, they managed their weekly budgets to ensure important bills were paid before looking at luxuries, such as a day out to the Escape Rooms, where transport and lunch needed to be considered too. They then discussed what to do with any wages leftover and the implications of spending and saving.
Through the experience the pupils learned to use and develop their numeracy and mathematics skills; establishing the attitudes and mindsets that support financial wellbeing and confidence. Running the Escape Room during Talk Money Week provided the perfect opportunity for pupils to explore, learn and reflect on money in the world around them in a memorable and engaging way.
Lynsey Hopper, Teacher at Alloway Primary School, said: “It is extremely important that pupils are exposed to Financial Education from a young age, to provide them with the basics of managing their money through budgeting, saving, understanding debt and investing for their futures. The Escape Room activities during Talk Money Week provided a fun experience and helped to lay the foundation for pupils to build strong money habits early on in life.
“We absolutely welcome the new guidance on the delivery of Financial Education in schools. Equipping our pupils with the tools to create a financially healthy future is such a big responsibility and the more guidance we have to support this, the better. We follow and teach the skills set out within the CfE Numeracy and Mathematics experiences and outcomes. However, Financial Education is so much more than that. It has strong cross-curricular links, particularly within Health and Wellbeing. The guidance will support teachers as they look beyond a general numeracy lesson.”
Jackie Noon, Teacher and Financial Education Champion at Crosshouse Primary School in East Kilbride, says: “Financial worries are set to be a nationwide problem in the current economic crisis caused by Covid-19. Money worries create anxiety which has a direct impact on mental health. Our children should be better prepared to deal with real life money issues such as how credit card fees and interest work. Financial services and technologies around money are fast and ever changing so up to date guidance and resources are fundamental in helping us to prepare our children for the responsibility of having to manage their own money, especially in these uncertain times. We are currently developing a progressive Financial Education Programme across our school – we very much welcome the new guidance and resources.”
Allison Barnes, Scotland Manager at the Money and Pensions Service said: “We know that schools, alongside parents and carers, play a vital role in supporting children and young people to develop the necessary life skills to succeed. With less than half of 12-17 year-olds in Scotland feeling highly confident managing their money, we want to equip schools with the support they need to bring financial education to the forefront within the classroom.
“Financial education plays an important role in helping children and young people to be able to make the most of their money as adults, whether that is understanding how to read a payslip, decipher a bill or the importance of planning ahead. The financial impact of the Coronavirus pandemic means that building money skills and confidence has never been more vital. The guidance is a key element of our commitment to reach 150,000 more children growing up in Scotland with meaningful financial education by 2030 as part of the UK Strategy for Financial Wellbeing”.
The guidance forms part of the support package developed by the Money and Pensions Service to expand financial wellbeing provision in schools. In March 2021, around 95,000 copies of a financial education textbook for 14-16-year olds will be distributed to Scottish students in S4 and S5 for the first time. The Money and Pensions Service, alongside MoneySavingExpert’s Martin Lewis, will be funding the resource, developed by the charity Young Enterprise, to support students to build financial resilience and preparedness for the future.
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Notes to editors:
About the Money and Pensions Service
The Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) is here to ensure every person feels more in control of their finances throughout their lives: from pocket money to pensions. When they are, communities are healthier, businesses are more prosperous, the economy benefits and individuals feel better off. MaPS delivers free and impartial money and pensions guidance to the public through the Money Advice Service, The Pensions Advisory Service and Pension Wise.
MaPS is working to make sure the whole of the UK understands that financial, physical and mental health are all deeply connected. MaPS’ role is to connect organisations with the shared purpose of achieving the five goals set out in the UK Strategy for Financial Wellbeing.
MaPS supports innovation so that everyone can use the most effective methods to help people feel more in control of their money, targeted to those most in need and inclusive of people from all backgrounds. MaPS is an arm’s-length body sponsored by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).