International Day of Education: teaching financial education in schools

24 January, 2023Mutahara Gofur
Young female teacher working one to one with student

For International Day of Education, we look at the value of financial education and how students can benefit from it in the long term.  

Why is financial literacy important?

Financial literacy gives young people the confidence to make smart financial choices. Teaching students about financial education at school gives them an insight into budgets, how to save, and how to avoid debt.

According to our Young Persons’ Money Index, 81% of young people feel anxious about money, with 72% wanting more financial education in school. This increased to 85% for those aged 17-18.  

When looking at financial education at schools, it’s important to assess what should be included in the curriculum. Our research found that young people showed an interest in learning more about tax, budgeting, and debt management. They also wanted more information about financial products, such as credit cards, pensions, mortgages, and loans.

How can financial education support students?

As a Financial Wellbeing Consultant for The Money Charity and Moneywise’s 2019 Personal Finance Teacher of the year, Helen Westwood is highly experienced in delivering financial education and maths to young people.  

This has allowed her to witness first-hand how teaching financial education has positively impacted her students. “My students love to hear about why I chose my student current account and how I got an unexpected tax bill in my third year of university.”

Helen also points out that unlike her students, she didn’t have the option to study financial education. “I just didn’t know any better.”

Social media and financial education

Our Young Persons’ Money Index found that 25% of young people taught themselves about financial education, whereas only 15% said school was their main source of financial education.

Although it shows initiative that young people are being proactive about learning about personal finance, it’s important to look at whether their resources are reliable.  

Darren Collins is an Independent Financial Adviser, Head of the Financial Department at Sittingbourne School, and Interactive Investor’s 2020 Personal Finance Teacher of the Year. On our Financial Education Podcast, he addressed the issue of social media influencers posting about financial education and personal finance.  

“Social media is all about getting likes and followers. Quick wins sell on social media. Tough work and hard work do not.” 

A benefit of providing financial education in schools is that following an approved curriculum means that the information would be factual. It would also be delivered by qualified teachers who can address any questions students might have about personal finance.

Alternatively, if someone’s main source of financial education is social media, they may see influencers make easy money, think it’s that straightforward and fall prey to scams. This can lead to misinformation and poor financial decisions.

Are students interested in financial education?

Binta Darboe is one of our Finance, Investment and Risk (BSc) graduates. She also completed our Level 3 Diploma in Financial Studies (DipFS) at school, prior to starting at university with us. Studying DipFS helped her shape her financial goals and taught her relevant future skills. “It was the first time I learned about personal finance and became interested in how to take control of my finances.”

Our 2022 Young Financial Journalist winners also expressed an interest in financial education.

Leo Smith, winner of the 16 to 17 category, says “I think it would be useful for young people like myself to learn more about financial education because it’s something that everyone is going to need at some point. We should all be prepared, and the earlier the better.”

Zaki Mustafa, winner of the 14 to 15 category, also agreed that it would be helpful later in life if “people are taught at schools how to manage their finances in the best possible way.”

Related content

More about our financial education qualifications

More about our Young Persons’ Money Index