Introduction by Sir Hector Sants (Chair, Money and Pensions Service) – Westminster Central Hall
Good morning. I am delighted to be here today to welcome you all to the ‘Helping children and young people learn about money’ event, hosted by the Money and Pensions Service and supported by the Department for Education and HM Treasury.
This is a very important event, the first financial education conference for teachers in England supported by the government for at least a decade.
So why have we invited you all here today?
Financial wellbeing is increasingly recognised as one of the biggest socio-economic challenges that our society needs to address.
Helping people manage their finances – from pocket money to pensions – has a huge number of benefits for the economy, business, communities and employees.
This is why in April this year, the Money and Pensions Service started what we have called our ‘listening phase’. We have travelled across the UK to hear from our stakeholders, partners, organisations and groups of people who have an interest in building a financially capable society – people like you all here today – to listen and seek views to input into our national strategy. A strategy to achieve our vision – everyone making the most of their money and pensions.
A common theme that we heard from these events is to improve the financial wellbeing of society; we need to frame this with good financial education for children and young people.
We require a culture change so that everyone sees financial education as vital for the nation’s wellbeing. We need every child and young person to be equipped with the necessary skills and attitudes to manage money, to have a healthy relationship with money.
We know that many of you here today are already doing great work to make sure children and young people learn about money. Today is an opportunity to celebrate this and share both experiences and good practice.
Our research shows that nearly three quarters of schools across England want to increase financial education provision – so today is also an opportunity for us to discuss how we can achieve this.
At MaPS, we are working through many routes to achieving this; including running ‘pathfinder’ projects to set-up models for financial education at scale with government support, such as funding financial education for 10,000 16-17 year olds to make sure they are well prepared for independence.
We will also continue to work to support high quality financial education, for example, through funding the financial education quality mark, and developing an easy-to-access interactive guide for schools on different ways to deliver financial education and sources of support.
We know we cannot achieve our ambition to make sure that all children and young people have effective financial education alone.
As a starting point, I believe there are three communities that we need commitment, engagement and agreed resource from to bring about this change.
Firstly, we need to work with government, policymakers and politicians to ensure financial education is represented and delivered widely across the curriculum for all ages – perhaps a long-term goal. However, in the interim, we need them to make the case for and encourage their support for financial education in school and college life.
Secondly, and one of the reasons why this conference today is so important, we need the engagement and support from teachers and educators. School and college leaders across England should promote the value of financial education and its place in the school curriculum, as well as being a channel to share and celebrate excellent practice to develop children’s and young people’s money skills.
We recognise how much excellent work is already out there to build on – and we will hear about and explore some of the great financial education already happening throughout the day. We want to ensure we offer the right support to school and college leaders so they can continue to do this.
Our research also shows that to make a real impact – we need to support parents in this area too. A collaborative approach between a more formal education and at home learning about money skills significantly increases children’s financial capability.
And thirdly, I believe strongly there is role for financial education funders from the financial services sector and beyond to see financial education as an exciting and worthy area to focus their resources and for them to develop and reinvigorate their programmes.
Part of MaPS role will be leading the way to get commitment from this community to collaborate on funding consistent, coherent financial education at a bigger scale than ever before seen.
As I said, today’s event marks an exciting first step to working together to achieve a generation of more financially capable children and young people.
We need to work collaboratively to deliver our ambition to see effective financial education for all. To achieve this, everyone in this room plays a vital role, today is an opportunity to facilitate that and we are eager to hear your ideas, discuss opportunities and open the dialogue so we can make a real difference to support children and young people learn about money.
I would now like to pass the lectern on to the Rt Hon Nick Gibb, Minister of State for School Standards.