Celebrating victory as financial education set to become compulsory in school

While MPs and financial institutions were debating the best way to teach young people how to manage their money, pupils at Southlands High School in Chorley and national charity Debt Advice Foundation blazed a trail in financial education.

Today they were celebrating the announcement that the subject is to be made compulsory in secondary schools, as part of the Citizenship curriculum.

Debt Advice Foundation’s education manager Brian Souter, who spearheaded the project in his previous role as deputy head of Southlands High School, said: “We are absolutely delighted – and I am particularly pleased that it is part of citizenship. 

“Our lessons, which 14-16 year olds teach to primary pupils, are all about attitudes to money – knowing the difference between needs and wants, understanding the importance of having a budget and sticking to it, having a sensible attitude about money.

“Money management is a critically important skill – our lessons in primary schools have been extremely successful and I believe that is where they should start.  But to have them on the curriculum for secondary schools is a huge victory.”

Dennis Benson, chairman of Debt Advice Foundation was a prime mover in the charity’s financial education project.   He said: “We congratulate pefg (Personal Finance Education Group), the All Party Parliamentary Group on Financial Education, Martin Lewis of moneysavingexpert.com and everyone else who have been campaigning tirelessly for this important change.

“We have never been in any doubt about the importance of financial education in schools, and now hopefully we have the opportunity for a sea change in the attitude of young people towards managing their money.”

Debt Advice Foundation is currently rolling out its unique money management lessons, in which 14-16 year olds teach younger pupils about budgets, savings and how to avoid unmanageable debt, using books and presentations they have developed themselves.

The project began when the national debt advice charity, based in Darwen, Lancs, approached Southlands High School to discuss ways of supporting financial education in schools.  Two students had the idea of writing the first Money Diaries, comparing the fortunes of two families with different approaches to money.  The project has now developed into compelling money management lessons, taught to nine-year-olds by secondary school pupils.