MPs urge teaching finance in schools

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The Independent Online

Every child should be taught personal finance as a compulsory part of the school curriculum, an eight-month study has concluded.

MPs from the all-party parliamentary group on financial education for young people called on ministers to ensure school leavers are better equipped to avoid running into money problems. In its report today, the group says financial numeracy should be taught during maths lessons.

It also recommended the appointment of a co-ordinator within each school responsible for bringing personal finance education together. A survey carried out by the group found that personal finance teaching is currently ad hoc, with only 45 per cent of teachers saying they had taught it.

The report comes ahead of a Commons debate about the issue on Thursday, secured after more than 100,000 people signed a petition by the personal finance expert Martin Lewis calling for financial education to be made compulsory.

The Tory MP Andrew Percy, who chaired the inquiry, said: "Credit cards, mortgages, hire-purchase agreements, mobile-phone contracts, tuition fees and even supermarket offers all require us to apply maths skills, such as being able to calculate APR, compound interest and percentages, to real-life situations. But too many of our school leavers, who can perform complex mathematical equations, have no idea what basic financial terms like APR mean – leaving them without the necessary level of financial literacy to make decisions in an increasingly complex world." PA