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Get to core in schools

Matt Morris (The Knowledge Gap, Money Marketing, September 17) suggests no one seems to know what the current policy on personal finance education is.

It comes as little surprise that the Government cannot tell him where or when or at what age financial education is being delivered.

Perhaps we can help. Current Government policy is to sprinkle small amounts of “financial education”, much of which has nothing to do with personal financial management, into a number of different subjects, such as PSHEE, citizenship, enterprise education and maths.

In contrast to this policy, financial education charity the ifs School of Finance has developed QCA accredited GCSE, AS and A-level equivalent qualifications in personal finance. Since their introduction in September 2006, these qualifications have been taken by over 50,000 14-19 year olds, with a further 30,000 expected to study one of the programmes this academic year.

This is making a big contribution to improving the financial capability of future generations but it remains a drop in the ocean. That is why we have been pressing politicians to add a standalone qualification in personal finance to the core school curriculum. This would put personal finance on an equal footing with other subjects such as geography, history and modern foreign languages and lead to a step-change in the number of young people leaving school with the necessary skills to manage their finances effectively.

To date, politicians have lacked the political courage to do this. Anyone who thinks the Government should be doing more on this issue should contact their MP. While their inaction continues, the ifs will continue to play its part in plugging the knowledge gap by providing growing numbers of schools and colleges with these worthwhile qualifications.

Chris Ray

Director of Communications

ifs School of Finance

London

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