GoHenry, a children’s debit card provider, has launched a UK petition to make financial education compulsory in all schools from primary age.
The fintech, which also provides financial education through its app, contends that the current curriculum falls short in preparing children for effective money management.
As it stands, financial education is only mandatory at secondary schools in England, not including academies and independent schools. And while Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland integrate financial education into their curricula from primary school age, it is part of subjects such as maths.
The petition has six months to get 10,000 signatures, at which point the government has to respond. Upon reaching 100,000 signatures, the petition will be considered for debate in parliament.
Louise Hill, co-founder and chief executive officer of GoHenry, emphasises the critical role of numeracy skills in both work and daily life. Hill said: “We would like to see the Government prioritising the practical skills children need to navigate real-world finance successfully.
“That means thinking outside the box and prioritising financial education in all primary and secondary school curriculums. The evidence is clear that this will help individuals be more financially savvy, encourage entrepreneurship, and provide a significant long-term economic boost to the whole country.
“If the Prime Minister is serious about reimagining our approach to numeracy, this is the change that will make the most tangible difference.”
A study commissioned by the Money and Pensions Service from Cambridge University highlights that children’s financial habits take root by the age of seven. This underscores the importance of starting financial education from an early age.
Stewart Perry, director of the Centre for Financial Capability, stresses the urgency of enabling children and young people to develop money management skills through robust financial education, especially in the face of a national financial capability crisis. He said: “Delivering financial education through schools is an important way to boost children’s money confidence and financial resilience. This can help them in the future when facing economic difficulties.”