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Too late to learn?

 

IMG_6935Is age 11 ‘too late’ to start learning about money?

Many people ask why MyBnk only delivers financial education and enterprise programmes to 11-25 year olds. Firstly, it is where our expertise lies, secondly, we go, where the need is greatest.

MyBnk fully supports the campaign to include money lessons in the primary curriculum. However, whilst it is always good to start early, we disagree with the premise of a recent claim that for secondary school pupils it is ‘too late’ to start receiving financial education. In our experience we find it is most effective in transitional moments where there is a practical application – if a young person gains knowledge they cannot use, they are not necessarily gaining a skill. “Use it or lose it” springs to mind – this is what makes the addition of enterprise such a powerful catalyst for financial capability. Overloading seven year olds with tax and the banking system also risks switching them off the subject matter.

Capability needs to be built, but we can’t ignore the value of prevention and intervention at a time when young people need this knowledge the most. Money skills for those moving into independent living, managing a first job, calculating the cost of going to university – this is the kind of know-how 16-18 year olds are crying out for. Is it too late for them? The vast majority of older students never received any form of money lessons and that is why we are working tirelessly to help them, now.

DSC_0004The inclusion of financial education in Citizenship and Maths should provide a huge boost to 11-16 year old’s financial capability. Whilst only Maintained State schools have to teach it, that does not mean that Free Schools or academies will not – MyBnk has been working with over a hundred of them in the last seven years.

However, the National Curriculum is ultimately a set of subjects and standards, it does not tell teachers how to achieve the stated outcomes nor has extra funding been provided for financial education training. We are concerned teachers will not have time to become experts in this niche field in what is an already crowded subject area – Citizenship also contains sex education, politics and health.

Prevention is always cheaper than the cure and by teaching 11-16 year olds how to budget, bank and borrow responsibly today, we can prevent bad experiences tomorrow. It is never too late.

MyBnk is here to help teachers with curriculum mapping and award-winning programmes delivered at schools by trained and tested financial education experts. For more info, please contact info@mybnk.org.

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