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Personal finance lessons backed

By Staff Writer

Hosted by The Press Association online 

16 January 2008

According to a survey in the UK, half of people think lessons on the subject should be mandatory, although 45% of parents felt they had a joint responsibility with teachers to educate children about money, according to the Association of Investment Companies (AIC).

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Parents ranked personal finance as being the sixth most important thing children could be taught at school, coming after maths, English, science, languages and history, but ahead of geography, music and religious studies.

Just over half of parents said they thought their own financial situation would be healthier now if they had been taught about money matters at school, but 90% said they did not receive any lessons in this area.

A further 65% of parents said they would like some personal finance training now, either to help them sort out their own affairs or to pass on to their children.

Only 4% of teachers questioned said they regularly taught personal finance, although 57% would be prepared to do so if they were given extra training.

Among those who would not want to teach the subject 43% said they did not have enough time and 23% said there were not enough funds available.

Both parents and teachers thought children should be taught about budgeting, tax issues, mortgages and the house-buying process, as well as being given explanations of financial terms and information on how to obtain financial advice. But, while parents thought children should be taught about retirement planning, teachers were more likely to think debt management was important.

A Department for Children, Schools and Families spokesman said: "From 2008 children will be taught how to open a bank account, understand basic financial concepts like interest rates and learn important skills to plan for their financial future as part of an £11.5 million boost to personal finance education, funded by the Department for Children, Schools and Families.

"The new secondary curriculum also has a specific economic wellbeing and financial capability strand allowing pupils to learn about the role of taxation, personal budgeting and savings, and a range of financial products including pensions, interest rates, trade and investment."

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