Are your children ‘Money Ready’? New way to help youngsters learn about cash

Helen Driver, of Woodbridge, has developed new online learning tool Money Ready to prepare young peo

Helen Driver, of Woodbridge, has developed new online learning tool Money Ready to prepare young people to manage their money - Credit: Archant

A recent study revealed just 8% of children believe they learnt enough about money management at school – but it has been a compulsory part of the national curriculum since 2014. Here business editor Richard Porritt meets one woman who thinks she has the solution to a 'growing epidemic of debt'.

Helen Driver spent two decades working in finance.

Her impressive CV includes time as a city fund manager and investor in the stock market, volunteering with school financial education workshops and delivering a workshop for the BBC Breakfast business team.

With this level of expertise, it is not surprising her children know how to make their pocket money last.

But it seems they are in the minority.

Financial literacy has been a mandatory part of the secondary school curriculum for the last six years - and as a result there is a requirement for lessons in budgeting and public spending to be taught in citizenship classes during Key Stages Three and Four and financial equations in maths Key Stage Three.

However, recent research by the London Institute of Banking and Finance found the mandate to teach money management has been largely ignored. A whopping 69% of students interviewed admitting they regularly worry about money and most - 82% - claimed they did not learn enough about money in school.

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It was this which inspired Helen, of Woodbridge, Suffolk, to explore options for bolstering the provision of this education and has led to the launch of Moneyready - an e-learning platform which uses a series of interactive games, lessons and quizzes to teach children on a range of finance-related subjects.

'Most schools deliver some kind of finance education but research suggests teachers have little faith in its quality and are held back by insufficient time, resources and support,' she said.

'As a result, access to financial education is erratic and irregular and many schools are still struggling to do it well.

'Meanwhile, young adults are recognising the need to understand more about things like savings, loans, mortgages, interest rates, pension schemes and credit cards and parents are desperate for help to arm children with the financial acumen they need to deal with the responsibilities of being an adult.

'My platform is designed to handle this.'

Moneyready is pitched at three levels - seven to 11, 11 to 14 and 14 to 18-year-olds with each level getting progressively more complex. It is cloud based and accessible via a tablet, laptop or desktop computer.

'We already know children respond well to learning through technology,' said Helen. 'This is why there are hundreds of apps and websites which work to boost education on things like times tables, phonics and spellings.

'My platform covers all the areas of financial education a young person needs to prepare for going out into the world as an adult.'

The platform, which has been created using Suffolk-based developers and designers, can be accessed by a single subscription - with a parent setting up an account - or through a school subscription.

The account holder can then oversee which elements a child has completed and how well they have grasped the lesson thanks to a series of pop quizzes.

Helen added: 'Fundamentally managing money is a life skill that everybody needs. It doesn't matter whether you are the brightest kid or struggle or whether you have a lot of money or little money.

'Everybody needs to have a basic understanding and learn how to be good with money and Moneyready is a simple, fun, interactive way to create an awareness and understanding in forming positive money habits.

'What I have found is that a lot of teachers do not have the skills, knowledge, confidence, time or budget to effectively cover financial education. They are also time poor so Moneyready is a solution to that.

'We know that schools want to do the best for young students and I want to help them do that - as well as adhere to the curriculum.'

Financial literacy falls under citizenship education for local authority maintained schools — it is currently not required to be its own distinct lesson and is usually integrated into other subjects. Academies and independent schools have no obligation to teach it.

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