Policy into practice - Financial education

Anne Longfield
Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The issue: As more families feel the effects of the recession, the impact on children is starting to show. Recent research carried out by the Personal Finance Education Group (PFEG) into the effects of the credit crunch on family life has shown that 70 per cent of parents believe money has become a more regular topic of conversation in the home over the past 12 months.

For many, these conversations might be uncomfortable. Plenty of parents believe children should be sheltered from the realities of economic turmoil. However, nearly a quarter of parents do not feel that they have the expertise to deal with the more complicated questions about money.

CASE STUDY 1

According to research from the Association of Investment Companies, 93 per cent of parents believe personal finance education should be taught in the classroom when young people are at their most receptive.

PFEG runs a primary school level programme called What Money Means, a five-year scheme supported by HSBC to help provide pupils with basic financial education. It is designed to give younger children a strong foundation for managing their money now and in the future.

It offers resources and support to help teachers plan and teach personal finance in fun and exciting ways that fit into existing activities and curriculum plans, at no cost to them.

CASE STUDY 2

Provision for secondary school-aged children is more widely available and delves into more complicated issues. Ninety per cent of teenagers now say they worry about money on a daily basis, with more and more reporting that they feel pressurised into spending money they do not have.

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) runs the website www.whataboutmoney.info, offering financial information to teenagers and a link to the National Debtline, where young people can speak to expert advisers for guidance and reassurance on coping with changes in family finances. The advice from the FSA website can provide practical reassurance and help the next generation to become more financially aware.

An online advertising and PR campaign aims to raise awareness of the site among young adults, parents and professionals who work with them.

- Anne Longfield is chief executive of 4Children.

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