Money Wellness
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category iconmanaging your money
calendar icon17 Apr 2023

Do we need maths to 18? Or would money management lessons be more helpful?

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has today announced the launch of an advisory group to assess a potential new maths qualification for 16-18 year olds.  While agreeing that extending maths education is a good thing overall, we believe equipping youngsters with comprehensive money management skills would be a better place to start.

Ian Somerset, chief executive of Money Wellness, said: ‘While we broadly welcome the focus on extending maths provision until the age of 18, we’re calling for the government not to lose sight that for many teens it would be more beneficial to have access to a good quality financial education first and foremost, especially those from underprivileged areas.

‘The changes aim to give young people – and therefore the country’s businesses - the knowledge and skills they need to help build a booming economy. However, they ignore the vital need for education in basic skills such as budgeting, saving, dealing with financial risk, and coping with debt, which is currently ad hoc in a structed form in many schools. These are the skills that go beyond the classroom and stay with children throughout their lives. They have the power to change a person’s future success for the better.

‘In fact, evidence shows that the current financial education in schools does not close the money-skills gap between vulnerable youngsters and their peers.

‘The government needs to recognise that financial education enhances financial wellbeing and prepares children for life. We’re doing our children a great disservice by overlooking the importance of this when we’re discussing extending maths and numeracy to the age of 18.’

While the UK has risen in international education league tables over the last decade, it remains one of the poorest for numeracy in the 38 developed nations that make up the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

More than eight million adults have numeracy skills below those expected of a nine year old and around a third of students fail to pass GCSE maths.

Mr Sunak first set out his ‘maths to 18’ vision in January, saying there was a need to ‘reimagine our approach to numeracy’.

Money Wellness has partnered with Young Enterprise to send specially trained volunteers into schools to deliver money management workshops to children.

Avatar of Caroline Chell

Caroline Chell

Caroline has worked in financial communications for more than 10 years, writing content on subjects such as pensions, mortgages, loans and credit cards, as well as stockbroking and investment advice.

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