Children’s financial education app and prepaid debit card company, GoHenry, is campaigning for the UK government to make financial education compulsory in primary schools.
The #makemoneycount campaign aims to equip younger generations with financial knowledge and a financial skillset in order to make better informed decisions as adults. Research indicates that childrens’ financial habits are shaped at a young age, and that financially educated children are more likely to grow up to have high-paying jobs.
A significant concern for teachers is adding to their already packed workload. However co-founder and CEO of GoHenry Louise Hill tells Finextra that financial education would work best as an external teaching model, and that it is not just up to teachers, but a collaboration between the Government, teachers, parents, and charities.
In a press release on the subject, Peter Gibson MP, Conservative MP for Darlington, said: “I don’t know a single Parliamentarian, from any party, who is opposed to the idea of giving young people a proper programme of financial education. As GoHenry's research suggests, this could have a transformative effect not only on the financial outcome of individuals, but on the wider economy too. We know that teachers are busy, so this petition isn't about burdening them with extra work. It's about helping teachers carve out the time for financial education lessons, and bringing in external experts to help them if necessary. Now is the time to deliver and I hope that we can all come together to achieve that sooner rather than later.”
GoHenry has appealed to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak with the petition, and is backed by MP Peter Gibson and charities such as the Centre for Financial Capability and MyBnk. Sunak has addressed financial education in the UK with his ‘Maths to 18’ plan.
Hill believes that the Prime Minister can do more to boost financial literacy: “Maths is all well and good, but we would like to see the Government prioritising giving school children the practical skills they need to navigate real-world finance successfully. Numeracy skills alone can not do this. Unfortunately, financial education is not taught in the vast majority of primary schools, which, according to this Cambridge University study, is the time when most children’s money habits are formed. GoHenry research shows prioritising financial education will inject an extra £200 billion into the UK economy by 2050, with the evidence clearly showing that this will help individuals be more financially savvy and boost entrepreneurship. There has never been a more important time to prioritise money skills and make space for financial education in all schools.”
Hill adds that making financial education compulsory for students at an early age will improve the economy in the long term.
Mal’achai, age 12, said: "Learning about money in school is important because it will teach me and my friends how to save, spend wisely and plan for our futures when we grow up. I already save my pocket money for new toys and holidays but I think kids could learn a lot more about money if it was in school too.”