Transcript of "Personal finance teaching in schools"
Financial Services Authority
teaching in schools
Implications for consumer education of
research carried out by the National Centre
for Social Research
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has been given a statutory role to promote public understanding
of the financial system. The aim is to provide individuals with the knowledge, aptitude and skills base
necessary to become questioning and informed consumers of financial services and manage their
finances effectively. Our work with schools and young people is central to achieving this objective in the
longer term. Inclusion of personal finance in the curriculum in England, Wales and Scotland is a major
step forward and we are now working towards making sure that this change in policy is reflected in
practice by providing support for teachers in delivering the new curriculum.
We recognise that we need to be well informed about current practice in schools and how much schools
are already doing to achieve financial capability through personal finance education. It was for these
reasons that we commissioned this research in England.
We are publishing this report as we believe these findings will help those involved in the development of
personal finance education in schools. It is also our intention to use this research as a baseline for the
current situation in schools in England and we are considering conducting similar research in Scotland,
Northern Ireland and Wales. Repeating this research in the future in schools throughout the UK will
help us to measure the effectiveness of our work as well as to help us ensure that we are achieving
maximum benefit from the use of our resources.
Head, Consumer Education Services
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The National Centre for Social Research is the largest independent social research institute in Britain. It
conducts social research among members of the public to provide information on a range of social
policy issues in Britain.
The research was carried out by Lindsey Jarvis and her colleagues at the National Centre for Social
Research. We would like to thank all those schools who gave freely of their time to be interviewed.
This research report was written by Lindsey Jarvis (National Centre) with additional material provided
by Gill Hind and Steve Stillwell (Consumer Education Services, FSA)
The study was managed at the Financial Services Authority by Paul Hunter (Risk and Research Dept.,
Further information for schools
To find out more about the support the FSA can give to schools please visit our website
www.fsa.gov.uk/consumerhelp or contact Steve Stillwell on 020 7676 4516 or email
To find out more about the work of the Personal Finance Education Group (pfeg) and the Excellence &
Access Project visit their website www.pfeg.org.
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1. The research was carried out for the FSA by the National Centre for Social Research in spring/summer
2001. The purpose of the study was to look at the extent to which personal finance education has been
incorporated into lessons in both primary and secondary schools in England and provided the first
baseline figures for this.
2. The survey was carried out using computer-assisted interviews. The questionnaire used was designed as
the result of a pilot study. A sample of 30 primary and 70 secondary schools were contacted for the
pilot. Of these 9 primaries and 20 secondaries took part in the pilot via telephone interviews.
3. For the main survey a sample of 300 primary and 700 secondary schools was used, ordered by type of
control over school, selection policy, Local Education Authority and size of school.
4. Schools were asked in advance of the fieldwork to give details of the person who was responsible for co-
ordinating personal finance education. Those schools who said that they were not teaching personal
finance were re-contacted as a follow up to the main survey. 59% of primary schools and 49% of
secondary schools in the sample participated. Computer-assisted telephone interviews were carried out
during March and April 2001.
Amount of personal finance teaching
5. 80% of primaries and 54% of secondaries had no policy on personal finance education. 84% of
primaries and 89% of secondaries said that they were teaching personal finance.
Schools not teaching personal finance
6. The reasons given by the 16% of primary and 11% of secondary schools who were not teaching
personal finance included:
• not having enough time
• other priorities for lessons
• not appropriate for children of this age
• lack of staff time
• lack of awareness of the topic
• parental responsibility.
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7. 43% of secondary schools not teaching personal finance intend to introduce it in the future. Schools
• more materials
• more information from financial companies
• information on how to integrate the subject into the curriculum
would help them to introduce the topic. Two thirds of schools who were not teaching personal finance
thought that it was important.
How personal finance is taught
8. Topics from the DfES Guidance ‘Financial capability through personal finance education’ were used as
the basis for asking schools what was covered in personal finance lessons. All primary schools were
teaching the basics such as recognition of coins and their value (which is also part of the National
Numeracy Strategy Framework). A smaller proportion were teaching other aspects such as the need to
save in order to buy goods. Secondary schools were covering a wide range of topics including consumer
rights and responsibilities and how to budget. 60% of primaries were teaching at least 5 out of the 9
topics selected from the DfES Guidance while 69% of secondaries were teaching at least 5 of the 8
9. Primaries used mainly Mathematics and secondaries mainly Personal, Social and Health Education
(PSHE) as the lessons in which personal finance was taught.
10. The frequency of lessons on personal finance was not high. At both key stage 2 and 4 the majority of
pupils were only receiving lessons once or twice a term (or less). 80% of primaries and 51% of
secondaries taught personal finance to all ages. In secondary schools it tended to be the older pupils in
years 10 and 11 who were taught.
11. Teachers used a variety of methods to teach personal finance including visitor talks, mini-enterprise
schemes, bank-run schemes, school bank and investment competitions.
Value of personal finance education
12. 65% of primaries and 87% of secondaries thought that personal finance education was very/fairly
important. However, 80% of primaries and 54% of secondaries were giving a low/very low priority to
the teaching of personal finance.
Assessment of materials for teaching personal finance
13. Overall there was low awareness of sources of help and information for schools.
Training for staff
14. Secondary teachers were more likely to have received training in the teaching of personal finance than
primary teachers. What training had taken place was well received. Half of primary schools and two-
thirds of secondary schools felt that they needed more help. Teachers wanted:
• more materials
• more training and more advice
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• more information from the financial services sector
• exemplar lessons and examples of good practice
• information on how to integrate.
The future of personal finance education
15. 20% of primaries and 45% of secondaries have plans to change the way that they taught personal
finance. Predominantly this would be as part of their PSHE & Citizenship review.
16. 74% of primaries and 60% of secondaries feel that personal finance education should not be made a
statutory part of the national curriculum. The reasons for this included, too much on the curriculum
already; the children are too young to learn about finance; school has other priorities.
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1.1 The National Centre for Social Research was commissioned to carry out a survey into the teaching of
personal finance education in schools by the Financial Services Authority in spring/summer term 2001.
1.2 Personal financial education was introduced as a non-statutory part of the national curriculum in
England in September 20001. Its aim is to develop financial capability among pupils of all ages. The
main purpose of the study was to look at the extent to which personal financial education has been
incorporated into lessons in both primary and secondary schools in England and provide the first
baseline figures for this. It also explored: how the subject was being taught and by whom; the
importance the schools attached to the subject; the training the teachers had received; and the plans
schools had for the future teaching of personal finance.
1.3 This research is only representative of schools in England. The Financial Services Authority is
considering conducting similar research in schools in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland working in
partnership with the relevant organisations.
1 England - Primary: see national curriculum page 22 and the PSHE & Citizenship framework; Secondary: see national curriculum
page 24 and the PSHE framework and Citizenship programme of study
Other countries have similar recommendations, for Wales - see PSE framework for both primary and secondary schools; for
Scotland - see Learning and Teaching Scotland’s ‘Education for financial capability’ initiative; for Northern Ireland - curriculum
currently under review but likely to contain personal finance education recommendations
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2.1 The survey was carried out through computer-assisted telephone interviews. This is a quicker and
cheaper way to conduct interviews throughout the whole of England than carrying out face-to-face
interviews within schools. The interviews were carried out by the National Centre’s dedicated team of
telephone interviewers from its Telephone Unit.
2.2 The questionnaire was designed by the National Centre in collaboration with the Financial Services
Authority. As this was the first survey to collect baseline data on the amount of personal finance
teaching being carried out, it was important to conduct a pilot study to test how the questions worked.
2.3 A sample of 30 primary and 70 secondary schools was selected (this was done in the same way as for
the main sample, further discussion of which is found in section 2.7).
2.4 Interviewing was carried out for three days at the end of March. Due to the short timetable, advance
letters were not sent out to the schools and so the telephone interviewers ‘cold-called’ the schools
making first contact via this telephone call. An information letter was produced which, if requested, the
interviewers faxed through to schools to give them further details of the project.
2.5 Interviewers asked to speak to the Headteacher to receive their consent to carry out the survey. If consent was
given, the interviewer asked for the name of the person who was responsible for co-ordinating the teaching of
personal finance or someone else able to answer questions about the school’s policy on personal financial
education. This person was then interviewed by the telephone interviewer using a paper questionnaire.
2.6 Nine primary schools and 20 secondary schools took part in the pilot study. Few difficulties were found
with the understanding of the questions but some re-drafting of the questionnaire took place before the
main field stage.
2.7 The National Foundation for Educational Research drew a sample of 300 primary schools and 700
secondary schools from their list of all state schools in England. It was decided to select a greater
number of secondary schools because previous research indicated that there was more likely to be a
greater variation in teaching practices compared with the more homogenous nature of primary schools.
The aim was to interview at state schools teaching some pupils aged 5-16, so independent schools,
nursery schools and sixth-form only colleges were excluded. Special schools were also excluded as their
teaching practices were likely to be very different from other schools.
2.8 The sample was ordered by type of control over school (e.g. Community, Voluntary Aided, Voluntary Controlled
and Foundation), selection policy (e.g. comprehensive, selective), Local Education Authority and size of school.
Middle schools were split into either the primary or secondary sample dependent on whether they were ‘Middle
deemed primary’ (having pupils up to age 12) or ‘Middle deemed secondary’ (pupils up to age 13 or 14).
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2.9 Advance letters which gave information about the survey were sent to the Headteachers of all schools in
the sample two weeks before the start of fieldwork. The letter also enclosed a ‘contact sheet’ asking for
the schools to return details of the name and availability of the person in their school responsible for co-
ordinating personal financial education or someone who could discuss the schools’ policy on this.
Around one in five schools (18%) returned these sheets with details entered and 4% returned them as
refusals. Those schools who did not teach personal financial education and therefore said they could not
help with the survey were recontacted as we were interested in the opinions of those who were not
teaching the subject as well as those who were.
2.10 Fieldwork took place for five weeks in March and April 2001 with a break during the Easter holidays
when the schools were closed. Interviewers from the National Centre’s Telephone Unit carried out
computer-assisted telephone interviews with one individual in each school who answered on behalf of
their school. In schools where the Headteacher had returned a contact sheet, the interviewers tried to
contact the named person directly. In schools who had not returned a contact sheet, the telephone
interviewers contacted the Headteacher by telephone to receive permission to interview in that school
and to find out the person best placed to help us. A small number of schools were unwilling for teachers
to be interviewed by telephone and so they were sent a paper questionnaire which was functionally
equivalent of the computer-assisted telephone interview.
2.11 Participating schools were sent a thank you letter and a feedback document detailing results from the
study a few months after the end of fieldwork.
2.12 59% of primary schools and 49% of secondary schools in the sample participated in the survey. Full
details of response are shown in Table 1.
Table 1 Response
Primary schools Secondary schools
No. % No. %
Schools issued 300 700
Schools out of scope
(eg closed, phone number untraceable) 3 4
Schools in scope 297 100 696 100
Interview achieved 176 59 341 49
Interview not achieved 121 41 355 51
Refusal 80 27 175 25
Refusal to office 6 2 36 5
Refusal by Head/ named teacher 48 16 34 5
Proxy refusal 20 7 77 11
Broken appointments 6 2 28 4
No contact 41 14 180 26
No contact with Head 25 8 84 12
No contact with named teacher 4 1 53 8
Other unproductive 12 4 43 6
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2.13 A better response rate was achieved in primary schools than in secondary schools. This is possibly
because the relevant person to talk to about personal finance was often the Headteacher, who was able
to speak on behalf of the school, and so there was no need to try to make contact with another teacher.
Respondents were asked for their job title and allowed to give more than one answer as they could be
the Headteacher and also the teacher of another subject. Nearly all (92%) of those interviewed in
primary schools listed Head as one of their job titles compared with only a half (52%) of teachers in
secondary schools. One in ten of those interviewed in primary schools was the PSHE or personal finance
co-ordinator compared with one in three in secondary schools. One in five primary school teachers said
that they were the teacher of another subject compared with half the secondary school teachers.
2.14 Response in secondary schools may also have been hampered by their larger size as it is more difficult to
contact individual teachers in large schools. A third of secondary schools had more than 1000 pupils. In
a quarter of secondary schools the interviewers were unable to make contact with either the Head or the
named teacher responsible for personal finance teaching whereas the figure for primary schools was
2.15 Once contact was made with the appropriate person, the major obstacle to response was that teachers
did not have the time to take part in the study, due to pressure of their own work. There was little we
could to do to address this as the interview was already very short with a median length of only 11
minutes. The timing of the survey was also unfortunate in that several teachers’ unions had adopted a
‘work to rule’ because of staff shortages and a letter from the Department for Education and Skills
(DfES)2 had recommended not participating in survey research as a means of using their limited
2.16 Despite these difficulties, teachers contributed much useful information on personal finance teaching
practices within their schools and we were able to interview in schools in a range of areas from country
villages through to big cities and their suburbs.
2 At the time of the Survey DfES was known as DfEE
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3 Amount of personal finance
3.1 The first part of the questionnaire was perhaps the most important in that it assessed how many schools
had policies on teaching personal finance and whether they were currently teaching some aspects of
personal finance. In this section and throughout the reporting of results, we will present the results from
primary and secondary schools separately as the ways of teaching the subject are clearly different.
Policy on personal finance teaching
3.2 We asked the following question to assess whether schools had a policy about personal financial
As you may know, personal financial education was introduced as a non-statutory part of
the national curriculum in September 2000. Since then, some schools have introduced new
policies on the teaching of this topic, some schools have continued with their existing
policy on teaching this and others have chosen not to introduce any policy on teaching
about personal finance.
What about your school?
Since September 2000, has it ...
• introduced a new policy on the teaching of this topic,
• continued with its existing policy on the teaching of this topic,
• or, does it have no policy on the teaching of personal financial education?
3.3 As Figure 1 shows, only 7% of secondary schools and 2% of primary schools had introduced a new
policy. In many cases, there was no need for the schools to introduce a new policy as they already had
an existing one - 18% of primary schools and 39% of secondary schools did. However, the majority of
both primary and secondary schools had no policy about the inclusion of this topic within their school’s
3.4 Secondary schools were twice as likely as primary schools to have an existing policy on the teaching of
personal finance and three times as likely to have introduced a new policy. There were no differences by
area in whether schools had policies.
Teaching of personal finance
3.5 Although schools might not have a policy on personal financial education they could still be teaching
some aspects of this topic. We therefore asked the following question:
Although there is no explicit policy on teaching personal financial education, does your
school teach some aspects of personal finance such as the ability to manage money, the
value of money, or understanding about saving and budgeting?
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Figure 1: Policy on personal financial education
New policy introduced
3.6 As the next table shows the majority of schools were teaching personal finance to some extent. Primary
schools were as likely as secondary schools to be teaching some aspects of this subject (84% compared
with 89%), even though they were less likely to have a policy on this.
Table 2 Teaching of personal finance
% of schools: Primary schools Secondary schools
Teaching personal finance 84 89
Have policy 19 46
No policy 65 43
Not teaching personal finance 15 11
Have policy but not teaching personal finance yet 1 *
Base 174 341
3.7 One in seven primary schools and one in nine secondary schools were not teaching anything about
personal finance and had no policy to do so. Only three schools had a policy but were not teaching any
aspect of personal finance yet.
3.8 Larger secondary schools were more likely to be teaching personal finance than smaller ones. 91% of
secondary schools with 500 or more pupils were teaching the subject compared with 79% of those with
fewer than 500 pupils. No differences were found by size of primary schools. There were also no
differences in teaching practices by the area that schools were located.
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Implications: schools need a policy on personal finance education
80% of primary schools and 54%of secondary schools had no policy about the inclusion of personal
finance within their school’s curriculum. One in seven primary schools and one in nine secondary
schools were not teaching anything about personal finance and had no policy to do so. Citizenship at
key stages 3 & 4 becomes statutory in 2002 and schools will need to ensure that they are
implementing the programme of study which includes ‘pupils should be taught about how the
economy functions, including the role of business and financial services’. Financial capability should
be part of learning across the curriculum and schools need to include it in their policies on
promoting other aspects of the school curriculum. The FSA wishes to encourage schools to adopt
policies on financial education which meet their needs - which could well be part of planning for
PSHE & Citizenship rather than a separate personal finance education policy.
A barrier to the provision of personal finance education maybe the perception that this is an
additional topic competing for time in an already busy curriculum. The FSA believes that it is
possible to deliver personal finance education within the existing curriculum. The resources which
the FSA has developed clearly show opportunities within Numeracy, Mathematics, ICT, PSHE and
Citizenship for personal finance education.
The FSA is also supporting the Excellence & Access Project of the Personal Finance Education Group
(pfeg)3 which seeks to work with schools to develop transferable models of personal finance
education within the existing curriculum.
3 Information on this Project is available on the pfeg website www.pfeg.org.uk
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4 Schools not teaching
4.1 There were only 26 primary and 37 secondary schools in the sample which were not teaching personal
finance. It should be remembered when looking at the results in this section that percentages are based
on very small bases and consequently tables are not included. However, these findings are illustrative of
the views of those not teaching personal finance .
Reasons for not teaching personal finance
4.2 When asked about the reasons why they were not teaching personal finance, the same three main
reasons emerged for both primary and secondary schools, although in slightly different orders. The main
reasons given (in order of priority for primary schools) were not having enough time, other priorities for
lessons and not appropriate for children of this age. About half of secondary schools cited other
priorities and not having enough time as their top two reasons but they did still mention the age of
children as a reason for not teaching the subject.
4.3 Other reasons given fell into the categories of:
• temporary situation,
• awareness, and
• more negative views towards personal finance.
4.4 The resource under most pressure was staff:
“My teachers are overworked: they’d be freaked if I asked them to do any more statutory
lessons.” [Primary school]
4.5 Temporary reasons given were that it was an interim year and the schools were planning the
introduction of the subject. Other schools reported that they were failing to meet the necessary
standards and were facing closure.
4.6 There was, to some extent, a lack of awareness of the topic. Schools mentioned that they were not
aware that it was part of the curriculum or that they had not viewed it as a distinct topic for lessons.
4.7 There were some negative reasons given with some schools feeling that personal financial education
should not be part of the curriculum. Others mentioned that they did not consider it a relevant part of
schoolwork or that it was parents’ responsibility to teach this subject not theirs.
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Implications: why schools need to tackle financial education
Apart from lack of time, schools gave a variety of reasons for not teaching personal finance which
included: not appropriate for children of this age; not a relevant part of schoolwork - parent’s
responsibility. The FSA believes that it is important for all children to be able to manage money and
it is a necessary skill for adult life. The FSA research ‘A cycle of disadvantage?: financial exclusion in
childhood’4 showed that children growing up in lower income families have limited opportunities to
learn about the mainstream financial world and so fail to acquire basic financial knowledge and
skills. While children from more affluent families lack budgeting skills, they are not knowledgeable
about how and where bills are paid and are less involved in decision-making about their family’s
There is clearly a need for schools to provide personal finance education if all children are to leave
school prepared for the rights and responsibilities of adult life. Not all parents will or be able to
provide suitable financial information and experiences for their children. The FSA believes that
personal finance education should start at an early age with teaching that is relevant to the child and
the DfES guidance5 and FSA resources6 show clearly how this can be achieved at each key stage.
Personal finance education is relevant to children at all key stages – not just older pupils.
Some teachers feel that teaching personal finance will be difficult as it touches on sensitive issues and
may make pupils inadvertently reveal their personal home circumstances. Teachers who are more
experienced have found that:
• providing a common experience in the classroom which serves as a base of shared knowledge
• using literature as a starting point - many children’s books contain descriptions of different
• focusing on ‘third party’ rather than personal experiences
are all ways of bypassing potential difficulties.7
Some teachers were not aware personal finance is a topic within the curriculum. Apart from
references within the national curriculum to financial capability, the National Numeracy Strategy
identifies ‘real problem solving including money’ within its Framework. Part of the FSA’s agenda is to
promote personal finance education to teachers in such a way that they realise the necessity for the
inclusion of this topic and see the curriculum links with topics that are already being taught.
4 For a copy of FSA Consumer Research 4 ‘A cycle of disadvantage?: financial exclusion in childhood’ visit the website
5 For the DfES Guidance ‘Financial capability through personal finance education’ see www.dfee.gov.uk/circulars/fcg/index.htm
6 See the School & Colleges section of the FSA website www.fsa.gov.uk/consumerhelp
7 There is a section on dealing with sensitive issues in the DfES Guidance
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Plans for the future
4.8 43% of secondary schools who were not teaching personal finance said they had plans to introduce it in
the future compared with 8% of primary schools. Those who knew when the topic was to be introduced
were, in the main, planning to introduce the topic in September 2001 or 2002.
4.9 The three most useful things to help schools introduce the topic would be:
• more materials,
• more information from banks and other financial companies, and
• information on how to integrate the subject into the curriculum.
4.10 Other reasons given were more resources in the form of either more money, more teachers or more time
(“A six-day week” [Primary school]). Schools would also appreciate more advice from a variety of
sources - DfES, their Local Education Authority, the FSA and others; or help in the form of training and
exemplar lessons. Again, there was some negativity towards personal financial education with a number
of schools saying that they did not think it should be introduced or that there should be less on the
curriculum generally. As one secondary school put it :
“we need a sound, reasoned argument as to why we should teach it from the QCA.”
Implications: help for schools
Schools would like: more materials; more information from the financial services sector; information
on how to integrate the topic into the curriculum.
The FSA has a planned programme of resource development in a variety of media8 as do others. The
FSA is keen to support resource production by the financial services sector and can give advice on
what is appropriate. The Personal Finance Education Group (pfeg) has a quality mark scheme for
resources and through this scheme is able to offer advice and encouragement to those developing
materials. The pfeg website has a directory of resources for schools.
The FSA is working with the DfES on the DfES website ‘Teachernet’9. This will have lesson plans,
schemes of work and links to resources to help teachers to develop a structured approach to personal
finance education in their schools.
The FSA is developing a curriculum audit/planning tool (which will be available on the FSA website)
which will enable teachers to audit their current provision and plan to integrate the topic into the
The Excellence & Access Project run by pfeg is enabling schools in several areas of the UK to put into
their existing curriculum personal finance education provision. It is planned to expand the Project to
other areas of the UK and to make the good practice learned through the Project available to all
8 See Schools & Colleges section of the FSA website www.fsa.gov.uk/consumerhelp
9 See www.teachernet.gov.uk
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Views about personal financial education
4.11 Although some schools were not teaching personal finance, we were still interested in their views of the
subject overall. We therefore asked them how important they thought the teaching of personal finance
was. Just under two thirds of secondary schools thought personal finance teaching was important.
Indeed, one in ten secondary schools not teaching the subject viewed it as “very important”. Primary
schools were less enthusiastic -less than half thought it was “fairly important” with none considering it
4.12 A quarter of secondary schools thought that personal financial education should be made a statutory
part of the National Curriculum but again primary schools were less convinced - none of them thought
it should be statutory. Reasons given for making personal financial education statutory were that it
would help prepare pupils for life after school and that the subject was as important, if not more so,
than other subjects already covered by the curriculum.
4.13 Not surprisingly, the majority view among those not teaching personal finance was against making the
topic statutory. This was because it was felt that there was too much on the curriculum already, that the
schools had other priorities or that the children were too young to learn about finance.
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5 How personal finance is
5.1 The rest of this report will discuss findings from those schools who were teaching personal finance. This
section explores what aspects of personal finance were being taught, how it was being taught and by
Topics covered in personal financial education
5.2 The DfES’s Guidance for Schools at either key stages 1 and 2 or key stages 3 and 4 shows the level of
financial capability that should be reached by each stage10. From the examples given in the appendices
of these guidance notes, we compiled two lists of topics, one for primary schools and the other for
secondary schools. The question asked:
I’d like to ask you about a range of topics that might be covered in personal financial
education lessons or as some other part of the curriculum in your school. Some of these
will, of course, only be taught to particular age groups. But please tell me if any children in
your school are taught these topics.
5.3 The next table shows that all primary schools were teaching the basics about understanding money -
recognition of coins and their value. These tasks form part of the National Numeracy Strategy
Framework for primary children which perhaps explain their high levels of teaching. Over half the
schools were teaching more complicated issues such as the ethics of money use and the varying sources
of income. Smaller proportions were taught more complex issues such as understanding probability and
Table 3 Personal finance topics taught in primary schools
% of primary schools teaching pupils … Primary schools
… to recognise different coins and notes 100
… to understand the relative value of different amounts of money 99
… that people may need to save in order to buy certain goods 89
… that there are different forms of money including cheque books, credit and debit cards 58
… that there are ethical considerations in choosing how to use money 57
… to recognise that there are regular and unpredictable sources of money 52
… the importance of keeping financial records 37
… about borrowing money and the problems of getting in debt 25
… to begin to understand the principles of probability in relation to insurance 10
10 For the DfES Guidance ‘Financial capability through personal finance education’ see www.dfee.gov.uk/circulars/fcg/index.htm
18 Financial Services Authority
5.4 Looking at the range of topics taught in secondary schools shown in the next table, we find that again a
wide range of topics were covered in many schools. Nine in ten secondary schools taught about
consumers’ rights and responsibilities and types of payment methods. Practical issues for when pupils
left school, such as budgeting and understanding earnings were taught in eight in ten secondary schools.
As it was for primary schools, principles of probability in relation to insurance was the topic covered in
the lowest proportion of secondary schools.
Table 4 Personal finance topics taught in secondary schools
% of secondary schools teaching pupils … Secondary schools
… that consumers have rights and responsibilities 91
… that there are different forms of payment methods including cheques, credit and debit cards 89
… how to budget and how to use these to plan and control personal spending 85
… about earnings and benefits specific to school leavers including student finance 80
… how to read and interpret bank statements and bills 69
… that there are ethical considerations in choosing how to use money 66
… the advantages and disadvantages associated with savings and investments 56
… an understanding of the principles of probability in relation to insurance 31
5.5 Figure 2 shows how many of the DfES Guidance topics asked about were being taught in each school. A
very small proportion of primary schools (4%) were teaching all nine of the topics but six in ten were
teaching at least five of the topics. A higher proportion of secondary schools (15%) were teaching all
eight of the aspects of personal financial education listed in the question.
Figure 2: Number of topics taught
10% 5 to 8 15% 5 to 7
Fewer than 5 Fewer than 5
56% 30% Don't know 54% Don't know
All 16% All
Primary Schools Secondary Schools
5.6 Larger secondary schools with 500 or more pupils were more likely to be teaching more of the listed
topics than smaller schools (72% of large schools taught five or more topics compared with 51% of
smaller schools). The range of topics taught in primary schools was not affected by the size of school.
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Lessons in which personal financial education is taught
5.7 We asked schools whether personal finance was taught as part of Personal, Social & Health Education
(PSHE), Mathematics, ICT or any other lessons. The next table shows that nearly all primary schools
taught personal finance in Mathematics lessons whereas in secondary schools PSHE lessons were the
platform most used for teaching personal finance. Around half of primary and secondary schools used
ICT lessons to teach personal finance. Of the unprompted answers given by the schools, Business
Studies and Economics lessons were the most often named by secondary schools and Geography and
English lessons by primary schools.
Table 5 Lessons in which personal finance is taught
% of schools teaching personal finance in these lessons: Primary schools Secondary schools
Maths 98 78
PSHE 70 89
ICT 54 56
Business studies/economics 2 68
Religious studies 24 16
Careers advice — 15
Geography 35 13
English/drama/literature 30 5
History/politics 26 5
Base 148 303
5.8 Pupils received teaching in finance in a variety of lessons and with different frequencies. Table 6 shows
that a very small proportion of pupils at key stage 2 or 4 received weekly lessons in personal finance and
a half of pupils at these levels were taught once or more a term.
Table 6 Frequency of personal finance teaching for pupils at key stages 2 & 4
% receiving personal finance teaching: Key Stage 2 pupils Key stage 4 pupils
At least once a week 5 4
At least once or twice a week 11 11
At least once or twice term 40 38
Less often than this 19 34
It depends 8 8
Don’t know 18 6
Base 148 303
5.9 Primary schools with 250 or more pupils were almost three times as likely as smaller schools to teach
pupils personal finance once a month or more. Within secondary schools there were no differences by
size of school.
5.10 We asked respondents whether children of all ages within the school received personal finance lessons or
whether it was restricted to certain age groups. Primary schools were more likely than secondary schools to
take a universal approach to the teaching of the subject. 80% of primary schools and 51%of secondary
schools taught personal finance to children of all ages in their school. This may be because primary schools
were teaching more basic elements that were appropriate for all age groups. In secondary schools which
taught selected age groups only, it was the older pupils in years 10 and 11 who were taught.
20 Financial Services Authority
Implications: concerns over how personal finance is taught
The research showed that a good range of personal finance topics were being taught. However, the
frequency of the teaching was low (only 16% of key stage 2 and 15% of key stage 4 pupils being
taught at least once or twice a week) and secondary schools identified Business Studies/Economics as
one of the main lessons in which it was taught. This is problematic as Business Studies/ Economics is
an optional choice for post-14 pupils. This would imply that not all pupils were receiving personal
finance education - or certainly not to the same depth. There is also a concern over whether the
specifications for Business Studies/ Economics support personal finance education. For example, a
pupil may do work on the UK tax system but have little understanding of personal taxation and how
this affects their savings and earnings.
In developing their personal finance education plans schools need to ensure that there is both
progression and cross-curriculum linkage. Students need to have a planned programme which builds
up their experiences through school in a coherent way. They also need to be enabled to make the
connections between different aspects of personal finance which might be delivered through
Mathematics, ICT, PSHE, or other subjects.
Teachers of personal financial education
5.11 As well as finding out how many pupils were receiving personal financial education, we were interested
in finding out how many members of staff were involved in the teaching. The answers shown in the
following table reflect the different sizes of schools. As primary schools tend to be smaller than
secondary schools they tended to have fewer staff teaching personal finance than secondary schools.
However, even in primary schools, a quarter had more than ten staff teaching personal finance and half
of secondary schools had this number. This reflects the range of teachers that are sharing the task of
personal financial education across a number of lessons.
Table 7 Number of staff teaching personal financial education
Primary schools Secondary schools
Number of teachers: % %
One 3 3
2-5 28 19
6-10 39 26
More than 10 28 52
Base 148 303
5.12 In secondary schools we asked whether personal financial education was being taught by teachers in
their role as PSHE teachers, maths teachers, form teachers, head of year or as teachers of other subjects.
Teachers were able to give more than one answer as they could have several jobs within the school and
so the following percentages will sum to more than 100%. PSHE, maths and business studies teachers
were the ones most likely to be teaching personal financial education.
Financial Services Authority 21
Table 8 Teachers of personal financial education
Secondary schools with teachers describing their role as: %
PSHE teachers 82
Maths teachers 69
Business studies/economic teachers 68
Form teachers 52
Head of year 20
Religious studies 20
Careers advice 19
Ways of teaching personal financial education
5.13 We have seen that personal finance is taught in a range of lessons by a range of teachers and the lessons
cover many different aspects of the topic. We were interested in finding out what other methods of
delivery were employed by schools. The following figure shows the proportions of schools employing
the methods personal finance education which we asked about directly.
5.14 Looking first at primary schools, we see that project-based work is the most common method used to
teach the subject - two thirds of primary schools taught it this way. In over a quarter of primary schools,
pupils learnt about personal finance though running a school bank, setting up mini-businesses
(sometimes known as enterprise education) and through visitors giving talks. A fifth of primary schools
had bank-run schemes but only a small proportion (3%) were involved in investment competitions. (We
did not ask primary schools about careers advice as it was clearly not relevant to the age of children in
Figure 3: Ways of teaching personal finance (prompted)
Visitors’ talks 28%
22 Financial Services Authority
5.15 Around three quarters of secondary schools used visitors’ talks, pupils setting up mini-businesses and
careers advice to teach personal finance. Just under a third of secondary schools used investment
competitions (such as those run by ProShare) and this was the least commonly used method.
5.16 Larger secondary schools with 1000 or more pupils were more likely than smaller secondary schools to
use investment competitions as a way of teaching the subject (47% of schools with 1000 or more pupils
compared with 22% of those with fewer than 1000 pupils) and were also more likely to use pupils
running mini-businesses (86% of larger schools compared with 73% of smaller schools). There were no
differences for primary schools, nor by area for either type of school.
5.17 Schools were asked to specify any other methods of teaching personal finance that they used. These
unprompted answers are shown in figure 4. The most popular method among primary schools was
pricing items for sale for events like school fairs. Fund-raising was the second most common choice in
primary schools with a quarter of schools having used this. Secondary schools gave a slightly greater
range of alternative methods of teaching personal finance from making use of ICT such as the Internet
and videos through to the “Real Game” (a scheme being piloted in certain areas which involved role-
playing different scenarios encountering personal life choices including financial decisions) and work
experience. However, it is clear from the findings that both primary and secondary schools show
flexibility in their methods of teaching the subject.
Figure 4: Ways of teaching personal finance (unprompted)
Pricing items for sale 51%
Fund raising 27%
Regular classes 6%
The Real Game
Implications: role for the financial services industry
The research shows that there is a role for the financial services industry in contributing to personal
finance education and that this would be welcomed by teachers. The FSA is keen to support the
financial services industry in work in schools and can offer advice. It is essential that any work in
schools ( such as visiting speakers, help with mini-enterprise schemes, resources for teachers and
pupils) is effective. All activities must support teaching and learning and fit with the curriculum. In
addition work with schools should be a positive experience both for the school and the organisation
carrying it out. The pfeg quality mark is very helpful as it ensures that resources are fit for purpose
and allows teachers to use such resources with confidence.
Financial Services Authority 23
6 Value of personal financial
6.1 Although a large proportion of primary and secondary schools are teaching aspects of personal finance,
it is useful to assess their overall support for the teaching of the subject generally. We therefore asked
schools about the importance of personal financial education and the priority they gave to its teaching.
Importance of personal financial education
6.2 The next figure shows that six in ten primary schools and almost nine in ten secondary schools consider
personal finance teaching to be important. Secondary schools are more likely than primary schools to
see this as “very” or “fairly important”. This may be because schools think that the topic is more
relevant to older children. Very few schools attach no importance to the subject at all. There were no
differences in level of importance attached to the teaching of personal finance by area or size of school.
Figure 5: Importance of personal financial education
Fairly important 43%
Not very important 33%
Not at all important 2%
24 Financial Services Authority
Priority given to personal financial education
6.3 The following figure shows a similar story when we asked about priority:
What priority does your school give personal financial education compared to other non-
statutory PSHE topics on the National Curriculum?
Figure 6: Priority given to personal financial education
Very high 4%
Fairly high 17%
Not very high 45%
Not a priority at all 35%
6.4 Overall, secondary schools were more likely than primary schools to give personal finance teaching
priority in their schools compared with other non-compulsory PSHE topics. The majority of both
primary and secondary schools said that they gave the subject little or no priority at all. Comparing
figures 5 and 6 we see that a lower proportion of schools actually give personal financial education
priority than attach importance to it. Again, there were no differences by size of school or type of area.
25 Financial Services Authority
7 Assessment of materials for
teaching personal finance
7.1 Various organisations have produced materials to facilitate the teaching of personal finance. We were
interested in assessing how useful schools found these. To do this, we needed first to establish whether
they were aware of the materials, before filtering the relevant groups through to the assessment
Awareness of materials
7.2 Often awareness questions draw false positives as people are loathed to admit ignorance of something.
Therefore when looking at the following answers, it should be remembered that the level of reported
awareness shown here is probably higher than the actual level of awareness.
Table 9 Awareness of personal finance teaching materials in schools teaching personal finance
% aware of the following: Primary Secondary
DfES Guidance on best practice in teaching personal finance 39 44
Personal Financial Education Group (pfeg) 12 11
‘Money Counts’ book 30
‘Mega Money’ pack 14
‘Looking after the Penneys’ television programme 25
Base 148 303
7.3 Around four in ten primary and secondary schools who taught personal finance said that they knew
there was DfES Guidance on best practice in teaching personal finance. There was also no difference
between primary and secondary schools in their level of recognition of the Personal Financial Education
Group (pfeg), an independent charity which promotes the teaching of personal finance - only one in ten
schools said they had heard of it.
7.4 Primary schools were asked about two resources for teachers produced by the FSA - ‘Money Counts’
and ‘Mega Money’. All primary schools had been sent one copy of the resource ‘Money Counts’ in
September 2000. ‘Mega Money’ is a set of giant cardboard coins with Teacher’s Notes available at cost
price from a primary school mathematics supplier. Three in ten primary schools in the survey who
taught personal finance knew of the ‘Money Counts’ book, which was a relatively high level of
recognition given that the Headteacher rather than classroom teacher was responding.
7.5 Finally, secondary schools were asked whether they had heard about a Channel 4 series of programmes
called ‘Looking after the Penneys’ designed to help teach about personal finance, the first episodes of
which were broadcast in the weeks leading up to fieldwork. A quarter of schools knew of this
7.6 Interestingly there were similar levels of recognition of the DfES Guidance and ‘Money Counts’ among
those not teaching personal finance as among those who were.
26 Financial Services Authority
Assessment of materials
7.7 As there was low recognition of many of the materials, we could only ask the follow-up assessment
questions of a small number of schools. There are therefore small base numbers for the following
7.8 Those who were aware of the DfES Guidance were asked how often they used it. Table 10 shows that
half of primary schools and a third of secondary schools made no use of this information at all. Nine in
ten primary schools and eight in ten secondary schools used it either “just a little” or “not at all”
indicating that this was rarely used as a source of guidance.
Table 10 Use of DfES guidance
% who used the DfES guidance … Primary Secondary
A great deal 5 3
Quite a lot 5 13
Just a little 40 50
Not at all 50 29
Base 58 133
7.9 Turning to the assessment of pfeg materials, we are clearly working on much smaller bases since only
one in ten schools had heard of this organisation. Of these, a quarter (27% ) of the secondary schools
had used the pfeg website but only a tiny minority of the primary schools had. Most of the secondary
schools had found the website “fairly useful”.
7.10 A third of secondary schools familiar with pfeg had used other pfeg materials besides their website but
very few primary schools had. Again the majority of secondary schools who had used the other pfeg
materials found them “fairly useful”.
7.11 Amongst the resources specifically designed for primary schools, we found that four in ten of those who
had heard of the ‘Money Counts’ book had used it for teaching. Most of these found it a useful
resource. Although there was a positive view of the book from those using it, the majority of those
responding on behalf of primary schools were not using it. When asked what were the most useful parts
of the ‘Money Counts’ book, the most popular answers were the specific topics for different ages and
keys stages. The practical exercises and suggestions for lessons were also well-received. There were few
suggestions for the book’s improvement.
7.12 The other primary school-specific material was the ‘Mega Money’ pack. Half of primary schools aware
of this resource had bought it and most of these had then used it in their teaching. Those using it found
it useful with the giant cardboard coins being regarded as the most useful part of the pack. It was felt
that it could be improved by making stronger links between it and the numeracy and maths curriculum.
7.13 Finally, we found that about half (44%) of those who had heard of the ‘Looking after the Penneys’
programme were using or planning to use the programme in their teaching. All who expressed an
opinion thought that the programme was useful. A third of secondary schools (35%) said that they had
used other television programmes in their teaching of personal finance.
Financial Services Authority 27
8 Training for staff
8.1 We saw in Section 5.7 that there were a large number of teachers from a wide range of disciplines
teaching personal finance to pupils in their lessons and the following section investigates what training
they had received.
In-service training for staff
8.2 When asked whether any staff teaching personal finance in their school had received in-service training,
we found that secondary school teachers were more likely to have received this than primary school
teachers. However, it was still only a minority who had received any training - one in five (22%)
secondary school teachers and one in twenty (5%) primary school teachers. There were no differences
by the size of the school or the area in which it was located.
8.3 We asked schools to specify what types of in-service training their teachers had received (without being
prompted with examples). The results for secondary schools are shown in the table 11. The most
common form of training was through discussion groups with other members of staff to think about
what could be done and the best ways to do it. Two specific types of training mentioned were careers
advice training and training for ‘The Real Game’ pilot scheme mentioned earlier. One in eight secondary
schools based their training around what was outlined for personal finance teaching in the national
curriculum and on materials they received. External training sources were also mentioned.
Table 11 Types of in-service training for personal finance education received
% receiving the following type of training: Secondary
Careers service training 21
‘The Real Game’ 16
Material/ syllabus based 13
Education Business Banking/ local banks 11
External – other 13
8.4 As only eight primary schools had provided in-service training for their staff, we cannot present
percentage results for these. However, types of training mentioned included maths and numeracy
training, discussions, careers service training and from materials from external sources.
28 Financial Services Authority
Assessment of in-service training
8.5 The majority of both primary and secondary schools thought the training teachers had received was
either “very” or “fairly useful”. They were asked what the most useful parts of the training had been.
Again, because of the small bases more descriptive than analytic results follow. Secondary schools
mentioned that the material-related parts of the training were best as these helped teach how to use
those provide and how to access more materials. Both primary and secondary schools were pleased that
the training had raised their awareness of the subject. It was thought that training which taught staff
how to focus children’s attention on this topic was very helpful such as
“angles of putting it to youngsters using examples of the outside world” [Secondary].
8.6 Another key benefit was gaining a knowledge of best practice in other schools:
“the videos to see what other people do in other schools... a different way of teaching
maths now” [Primary].
8.7 Other useful parts of their training mentioned were planning and organising, discussing issues and
setting syllabus-specific objectives.
8.8 Suggestions for improvements to the training were providing more time, more money or resources.
Secondary schools also wanted more comprehensive curriculum advice. A group of both primary and
secondary schools felt that the training was not in need of improvement and was “fine as it is”.
Training and advice from LEAs and other sources
8.9 We asked schools about help from LEAs and others. Only about one in twelve primary schools and one
in ten secondary schools had received help or advice from their LEA for teaching personal finance. This
LEA training was received as part of training for other related subjects - PSHE, citizenship and
numeracy. There were no significant differences between the types of advice or help received by primary
and secondary schools because of the small bases but the indication was that primary schools were more
likely than secondary schools to receive it as part of numeracy training.
8.10 A fifth of secondary schools said that they found the LEA help and advice “very helpful” and a further
half found it “fairly helpful”. All primary schools assessed it as being helpful.
8.11 Four in ten (43%) secondary schools and about one in eight (13%) primary schools had received advice
from other sources about the teaching of personal finance. Some of the sources of this advice were local
businesses, bank staff, the Inland Revenue, universities and colleges.
Further help and advice required
8.12 In terms of training and advice, the final question we asked schools was whether they required any
further help or advice which would aid their school in teaching personal finance. Half of primary
schools and two-thirds of secondary schools felt that they needed more help. Examples of what was
requested are shown in the following figure.
Financial Services Authority 29
Figure 7: Further help or advice requested by schools
More materials 41%
More information from banks 18%
More advice from DfES 30%
More external speakers 3%
More training 13%
More advice from LEA 23%
Best practice/exemplar lessons 10%
More money 7%
Information on how to integrate 10%
8.13 Around four in ten primary and secondary schools mentioned more materials as something that would
help them further. One request was for “units of work that could be prepared that are age-related”
[Secondary]. Many schools requested more advice and information from banks and other financial
companies, the DfES and the LEA. Other points mentioned were more training, more external speakers
and more money. Another idea mentioned was advice on how to integrate personal finance into other
lessons - “clear guidance from DfES on how to fit it in the existing curriculum” [Primary].
Implications: help for schools
There is much in place already or planned which will help schools. This includes:
• FSA resources for teaching and learning in a variety of media covering all key stages
• FSA audit/curriculum planning tool
• FSA annual education conference
• resources from the industry
• pfeg quality mark
• pfeg Excellence & Access Project for in-service training
• case studies and resource directory on the pfeg website
• DfES ‘Teachernet’ website with lesson plans, schemes of work, links to resources
More needs to be done and the FSA would like to encourage the industry itself to play a key role in
helping schools to develop financial capability. The FSA can offer information and advice on
financial education to those wishing to make a quality contribution to the work of schools. Schools
need to receive a consistent message and the FSA is uniquely placed to take a leading role in co-
ordination so that a national strategy for financial capability in the curriculum is developed.
30 Financial Services Authority
9 The future of personal
9.1 In this section we look at the future plans of individual schools in their teaching of personal finance and
also what they think the future of personal finance overall should be - to be made statutory or not.
Plans to change teaching of personal finance
9.2 A fifth of primary schools and almost a half of secondary schools (45%) said that they had plans to
change the way they taught personal finance. The next table shows the range of their plans.
Table 12 How schools plan to change their way of teaching personal finance
% planning the following: Primary Secondary
PSHE review 57 56
Citizenship 3 27
Curriculum audit 10 12
Extend to different age groups 0 8
Adopt practical and relevant ideas 13 4
Raise profile 10 2
Base 30 137
9.3 Over half of primary schools mentioned a review of the way they teach PSHE was planned and also
mentioned was a review of the curriculum generally. The introduction of Citizenship was seen as a point
at which to adapt the teaching of personal finance. Some secondary schools were considering extending
the teaching of personal finance to more age groups. Some of the examples of practical ideas that would
be adopted were
“setting up a school bank” and “buying and finance on the internet - the pros and cons
there and privacy” [Both Primary].
9.4 There were also future hopes of raising the profile of the subject, some prompting of which came about
from taking part in the survey -
“through your phone call and any subsequent written material, the school can raise its
Should personal financial education be statutory?
9.5 The last thing we asked schools about was whether they thought personal financial education should be
made a statutory part of the national curriculum. The overwhelming majority of schools thought it
should not be statutory, with primary schools being more adamant in their disagreement than secondary
schools. 74% of primary schools disagreed with making the subject statutory compared with 60% of
Financial Services Authority 31
secondary schools. Only a quarter (24%) of primary schools and almost a third (30%) of secondary
schools supported statutory status for personal financial education.
9.6 Secondary schools in big cities or their suburbs were more likely to want personal financial education to
be statutory than were those secondary schools in smaller cities, towns and villages (37% of big city
schools compared with 25% of secondary schools in less populated areas).
Reasons why personal financial education should be statutory
Table 13 Schools who thought personal financial education should be statutory
- their reasons
% who gave following reasons: Primary Secondary
Prepare for life after school/work 69 78
Learn to manage money/avoid debt 64 56
Responsible citizen/ ethical issues 11 6
Important to learn about pensions 0 6
Equally as or more important than other curriculum subjects 3 3
Force school to prioritise it 3 3
Make other subjects relevant 3 2
Base 36 91
9.7 The most commonly given reason why personal finance education should be made statutory was to
prepare pupils for life after school or to prepare them for the world of work. It was also seen as a way
of making pupils aware of what others experienced:
“The children live in a favoured area and don’t realise that money has to be
9.8 Staff were also concerned about teaching the children how to avoid debt and manage their money
“Because of the enormous amount of debt which young people can very quickly
9.9 Issues connected with being a responsible citizen and using money ethically were also raised by schools:
“Money is central to our whole existence and to the concept of citizenship” [Secondary].
9.10 Learning about pensions was seen as important by some schools and the general importance of personal
finance in comparison to other subjects was also mentioned. A slightly different type of reason given
was about the impact that making the subject statutory would have on schools by forcing them to
prioritise the teaching of the subject and develop their methods of teaching it:
“It would make it obligatory to fund it and staff it properly” [Secondary].
Financial Services Authority 32
Reasons why personal financial education should not be statutory
9.11 The reasons given by the three-quarters of primary schools and six in ten secondary schools who felt
personal financial education should not be statutory are shown in the following table.
Table 14 Reasons why schools said personal financial education should not be statutory
% who gave following reasons: Primary Secondary
Too much on curriculum already/no time 62 83
Too young to learn about finance 32 5
Other priorities 12 10
Already covered in other lessons/should be incorporated into other lessons 16 7
Not enough resources 1 6
Parental responsibility 3 2
Schools need flexibility 1 2
Base 109 183
9.12 The main reason for not making personal financial education statutory was the same one given by
schools not teaching the topic in explanation of their decision. Schools felt that there was already too
much on the curriculum and there was not enough time to cover it all.
“We have enough problems with citizenship in key stage 4 when that becomes statutory in
“Because I’m fed up being told what to teach when we don’t have enough time to do it
9.13 Not surprisingly, primary schools were more likely than secondary schools to think that the subject
should not be statutory as it was not appropriate for children of that age. Both primary and secondary
schools thought that there were other priorities more important than personal finance teaching.
9.14 Some schools thought that it did not need to be statutory as it was already covered in other lessons or it
could be incorporated into other lessons in the future:
“Unless it’s incorporated in something like numeracy, it’s going to be very difficult.”
9.15 Schools also felt that they did not have enough resources and that it was parents’ responsibility to teach
this. It was also mentioned that schools needed flexibility in their teaching :
“Because education is not helped by a prescriptive straight-jacket-like curriculum”.
This criticism is, of course, of the national curriculum generally, not personal finance teaching per se.
Implications: the place of personal finance education in the curriculum
The research shows that there is little support for personal finance education to be made statutory
within the national curriculum - although teachers do recognise the importance of the topic. The FSA
would like to see personal finance education strengthened within the curriculum and there are ways
in which this could be achieved without it becoming statutory. For example, schools could be
inspected within the existing OFSTED frameworks for PSHE, Citizenship and numeracy and
inspectors could report on the extent to which pupils have opportunities for personal finance
education within these aspects of the curriculum.
Financial Services Authority 33
10.1 The majority of primary and secondary schools are teaching some aspects of personal finance even
though few of them have an explicit policy on the teaching of this subject.
10.2 The results reveal that the subject is being approached by schools in a wide range of ways. It is being
covered in many different lessons and taught by different subject teachers using various approaches.
These include real-life experiences of money such as running school banks and mini-enterprise schemes,
to more classroom-based approaches such as role-playing and debating the ethical considerations
involved in using money.
10.3 Although several organisations have produced materials to help with the teaching of personal finance,
relatively few staff were aware of them as yet. However, teachers did stress that more materials would
help in their training and in teaching the subject. It would seem that making staff responsible for co-
ordinating personal finance teaching aware of what is already available would be a useful step.
10.4 Personal finance teaching did receive a strong endorsement with the majority of schools, secondary
schools in particular, considering it to be an important topic. However, it is not a priority compared
with other non-statutory PSHE topics in most schools. Indeed, when questioned as to whether it should
be made statutory, few schools supported this. Although the negative reaction was predominantly aimed
against the curriculum and the pressures of teaching generally rather than at the content of personal
finance education itself.
34 Financial Services Authority
Head Office Operations Department
35 Northampton Square 100 Kings Road, Brentwood
London EC1V 0AX Essex CM14 4LX
Charity No. 258538 Telephone 020 7250 1866 Telephone 01277 200 600
Fax 020 7250 1524 Fax 01277 214 117
P2080 March/April 2001
PERSONAL FINANCE TEACHING IN SCHOOLS
We would very much appreciate your help with this important study looking at the teaching of
personal finance in schools. Even if your school is not teaching personal finance, we would still
like to hear your views.
The questionnaire should be completed by the person who is responsible for co-ordinating the
teaching of personal finance or someone else able to answer questions about the school’s policy in
Completing the questionnaire:
Most of the questions can be answered simply by placing a tick (¸) in one or more of the boxes.
Not all questions apply to every school. It always tells you by the box which question you should
answer next. Please note that primary and secondary schools are often routed to different
questions. There are instructions at each point where this is the case. For the purpose of this
study, middle “deemed primary” schools are treated as primary schools and middle “deemed
secondary” schools are treated as secondary schools.
All schools should complete Section A. You will then be routed to either Section B, C or D.
The questionnaire should not take very long to complete, and we hope you will find it interesting.
The answers you give will be treated as confidential and anonymous.
Returning the questionnaire:
Please complete the questionnaire and post it back in the pre-paid, addressed envelope, AS SOON
AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN.
THANK YOU AGAIN FOR YOUR HELP.
Financial Services Authority 35
A1. As you may know, personal financial education was introduced as a non-statutory
part of the National Curriculum in September 2000.
Since then, some schools have introduced new policies on teaching this
topic. Some schools have continued with their existing policy on teaching this.
And others have chosen not to introduce any policy on teaching about personal
finance. What about your school?
PLEASE TICK ONE BOX ONLY
Since September 2000, has it … (¸)
… introduced a new policy on the teaching of this topic, 1
Go to Question A2
continued with its existing policy on the teaching of this topic, 2
or, does it have no policy on the teaching of personal financial
education? 3 Go to Question A3
Don’t know 8
A2. Are you teaching some aspects of
personal financial education now?
PLEASE TICK ONE BOX ONLY (¸)
Yes 1 ‡ Go to Section B
No 2 ‡ Go to Section D
A3. Although there is no explicit policy on teaching personal
financial education, does your school teach some aspects
of personal finance such as the ability to manage money,
the value of money, or understanding about saving and
PLEASE TICK ONE BOX ONLY (¸)
Yes 1 Go to Section B
No 2 Go to Section C
Don’t know 8
36 Financial Services Authority
SCHOOLS TEACHING SOME ASPECT OF PERSONAL FINANCE
B1. Approximately how many teachers work at your
school (including part-time teachers)?
PLEASE TICK ONE BOX ONLY (¸)
41-60 4 Go to Question B2
More than 80 6
Don’t know 8
B2. Where is your school?
PLEASE TICK ONE BOX ONLY (¸)
A big city 1
The suburbs or outskirts of a big city 2
A small city or town 3 Go to Question B3
A country village 4
Don’t know 8
B3. Are you …
PLEASE TICK AS MANY BOXES AS APPLY (¸)
… the head or the deputy or assistant head, 1
the PSHE or personal finance co-ordinator, 2
the teacher of another subject 3
(PLEASE WRITE IN SUBJECT(S)_______________________ Go to Question B4
or, a non-teaching member of staff? 4
(PLEASE WRITE IN JOB TITLE ________________________
B4. Thinking about personal finance teaching, does
your school know that there is DfEE guidance on best
practice in teaching this subject?
PLEASE TICK ONE BOX ONLY (¸)
Yes 1 Go to Question B5
Go to Question B6
Don’t know 8
Financial Services Authority 37