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Financial and enterprise education in schools

Published Monday, November 28, 2016

This note provides an outline of current arrangements relating to financial and enterprise education in schools, and recent reports on the quality of that education. It covers England only.

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This note provides an outline of current arrangements relating to financial and enterprise education in schools. It covers England only.

2016 reports

Ofsted report on enterprise education: 'Getting Back to Work'

In November 2016, Ofsted published Getting Ready for Work, a follow-up to Lord Young’s 2014 report, assessing how secondary schools prepare children for work, through enterprise education and work-related learning. 

The report found that few of the schools visited by Ofsted were building on good enterprise education being provided in primary schools, with some school leaders reporting that enterprise education was “not a feature of their curriculum,” and that their focus was on accountability through examinations.

The report included the following key findings related to enterprise education:

  • The extent to which schools used their curriculum to prepare pupils for the world of work was largely dependent on whether school leaders considered it to be a priority.
  • Even where schools were delivering enterprise education, it was often unclear whether this was having any impact on pupils’ knowledge, understanding and skills.
  • Opportunities for pupils to take part in meaningful work-related learning or work experience were limited at key stage 4.
  • Business involvement in some of the schools visited relied too heavily on the personal networks of teachers and parents, potentially resulting in disadvantaged pupils missing out.
  • A lack of coordination across local areas has created an environment for schools and businesses that business leaders described as ‘chaotic’.

The report made several recommendations, including for:

  • The DfE to revisit the Young report and promote the importance of well-planned provision for enterprise education
  • The DfE to further promote the Careers and Enterprise Company to encourage schools and businesses to work together in delivering enterprise education
  • Ofsted to ensure that inspection judgements take greater account of the coherence and rigour with which schools prepare pupils for employment and self-employment
  • Schools to ensure that there is a coherent programme to develop enterprise education
  • Schools to develop stronger links with business
  • Employers to support local schools in greater number by offering activities such as mock interviews, participation in careers fairs and careers talks

APPG report on financial education

In May 2016, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Financial Education for Young People published Financial Education in Schools: Two Years On – Job Done?  The report assessed developments since the introduction of statutory financial education in English secondary schools in 2014.  The report stated that financial education was “patchy, inconsistent and varying in effectiveness,” and made recommendations for it to be strengthened, including that:

  • Ofsted’s Common Inspection Framework should more explicitly address the extent to which schools provide young people with financial knowledge and skills
  • Statutory financial education should be strengthened in Mathematics and Citizenship at secondary level to better focus on real-life contexts, and extended to Mathematics at primary level. It should also form a central component of the Department for Education’s action plan for improving PSHE provision
  • Department for Education should embed financial education within the new Initial Teacher Training framework
  • A long-term study on the effectiveness of financial education interventions should be commissioned.

Money charity report on financial education

The Money Charity published a report on financial education in schools in September 2016, Financial education in schools: how to fix two lost years? 

The report, based on a survey and interviews with teachers, argued that “the introduction of financial education to the curriculum achieved little on the ground. Nearly three quarters of the teachers we surveyed saw little or no change.”

The report also found:

  • 9 out of 10 schools were offering some form of financial education
  • Just under two thirds of teachers described financial education as either somewhat or very ineffective, and none calling it very effective
  • Financial education had low priority in schools, leading to inadequate resourcing,
  • There was significant pressure from Ofsted inspections and exams to focus attention elsewhere
  • A lack of clear leadership in ensuring quality financial education
  • Just over a third of teachers believed colleagues in their school had the skills required to teach financial education.

The report made the following recommendation for policymakers:

  • Create incentives to teach students about finances - This should include at least one of:
    • Putting holistic financial education into the Maths curriculum
    • Making financial education in PSHE part of Ofsted’s common inspection framework and examining PSHE.

The report also made recommendations for schools:

  • Create ownership and leadership for financial education - Our conversations with teachers showed that one of the key impediments to good financial education is leadership.
  • Give financial education a home – It might not be obvious whether it ought to sit in Maths, Citizenship, PSHE or some mix of those, but teachers told us that the important thing is that the ownership is clear, whether the responsibility is held by a single department or shared. […]
  • Get outside help – Two thirds of teachers believe that staff in their schools don’t have the skills to teach financial education. This can only be solved with a mix of both training and delivery from outside experts

Financial and enterprise education on the curriculum

Financial literacy education became part ofthe National Curriculum for the first time in September 2014, as part of citizenship education in key stages 3 and 4 (ages 11-16).  This required it to be taught in local authority maintained schools.  Academies and free schools do not have to follow the National Curriculum.

In addition, the new mathematics curriculum is intended to ensure that young people leave school with an understanding of the skills needed for personal finance.

Enterprise education is not part of the National Curriculum. However, financial and enterprise education can also be taught as part of non-statutory Personal, Social, Health and Economic education (PSHE). Following a review of PSHE, the Coalition Government announced in March 2013 that it would remain a non-statutory subject and that no new programmes of study would be published.  The Conservative Government has maintained the position that PSHE will not be made statutory.  The PSHE Association, which was set up in 2006 with government funding to help raise the quality of PSHE teaching, has produced a revised programme of study for PSHE for pupils in key stages 1 to 4 (ages 5-16). 

Also in this briefing

  • The note also provides information about previous reviews of the teaching of financial and enterprise education in schools, by Ofsted and others.
  • Section three of the briefing gives further details of pressure to strengthen the position of financial and enterprise education in different parts of the curriculum.
  • Section four briefly details developments under the previous Labour Government.

Commons Briefing papers SN06156

Author: David Foster

Topic: Schools

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