Call for better financial education for young people – Friday 10 June 2016

This week I highlight the publication of the APPG’s report on the impact and effectiveness of financial education in schools, a report from the CBI calling for a greater focus on science in primary schools and the recruitment of new Deputy Directors for the eight Regional Schools Commissioners offices.

Call for better financial education for young people
The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Financial Education for Young People has published its report on the impact and effectiveness of financial education in schools. The APPG commissioned its fourth inquiry in this area to assess the extent and impact of financial education teaching since its introduction into the English secondary national curriculum at the start of the 2014/15 academic year. As a result of the inquiry, the APPG has made the following recommendations for policymakers:

  • strengthening school provision by introducing financial education at primary level and ensuring teaching focuses on real-life contexts;
  • improve teacher confidence and skillset by embedding financial education in the Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Framework and schools having a financial education ‘champion’ to coordinate and promote learning;
  • encouraging coordination between financial education providers by HM Treasury ensuring that the reformed money guidance body is able to coordinate, identify and signpost best practice of financial education across the sector;
  • measuring long-term impact by commissioning a long-term study on the effectives of financial education interventions and the UK to participate in the OECD’s evaluation of financial literacy to enable global benchmarking.

Business leaders call for greater focus on primary science
This week the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) published a report calling for a greater focus on science in primary schools. The report highlights that the supply of science skills doesn’t currently meet demand and this has the potential to hold back economic growth. It suggests increasing young people’s engagement with science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects is an important part of overcoming the problem, but argues that too many children are switched off to science by the time they leave primary school. The report’s recommendations include:

  • developing a new science education strategy covering all levels of education;
  • ensuring professional development for science is of a high standard in primary schools and that it’s undertaken on a regular basis;
  • all primary schools having a subject leader for science to drive a continual focus on the subject;
  • as part of CPD developing the opportunity for teachers to spend some time in businesses and universities to enhance their understanding of the theory and application of science;
  • helping governing boards get to grips with STEM provision in their schools.

Eight new deputy directors to lead the Regional Schools Commissioners offices
The Department for Education is to appoint eight new senior civil servants to head up the Regional Schools Commissioner (RSC) offices and help handle their rising workload.
The Deputy Directors will “complement senior leadership teams” in each of the eight RSC offices, but they will not be Deputy RSCs and won’t have the decision-making powers specific to RSCs.

The staffing expansion comes as RSC offices prepare to take on extra work with the Government’s proposals to academise coasting schools, as well as schools in council areas deemed underperforming or unviable.