MyBnk and Compare the Market launch new research on the current state of financial education in UK secondary schools.

Gathering data from surveys with teachers and young adults, our research showed that only 2/5 of young adults are financially literate and 61% do not recall receiving financial education at school. Amongst those who held credit cards, only 44% were considered financially literate.

On average, those who did receive financial education lessons were taught for approximately 48 minutes a month, 33 times less than the average time spent studying maths.

Those who are unemployed or not working for other reasons saw the lowest shares of respondents considered financially literate, at 26% and 22%.

The demands on teachers

Despite financial education being on the curriculum for state secondary schools, 80% of schools in England are academies, meaning they can opt out of the curriculum. 78% of teachers surveyed said they provide some form of financial education, but highlighted time as a key constraint. 80% said they are personally responsible for preparing or collecting resources.

Of those who said more time would be beneficial to deliver financial education, 57% believe finding more efficient use of the school day is the best way to find additional time. Examples include using evidenced quality resources, bringing in external resourcing, or having dedicated internal resourcing.

A minimum standard for financial education

70% of young adults surveyed support the regular provision of financial education at school and 88% of teachers believe financial education lessons should be mandatory.

This research found that if only three and a half hours is committed to financial education per month, this could help make the majority of young adults financially literate and provide economic benefits for society as a whole.

Policy recommendations:

  • Guarantee 30 hours a year of financial education for every 11-18 year old, regardless of which education pathway they are on.
  • Include financial education in regulatory frameworks to establish high standards of teaching.
  • Establish an awards programme to celebrate students, teachers, parents and carers, charities and others who excel in financial education.

Find out more about our work improving the financial literacy of 5-25 year olds.