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7th Feb 2024 9:30am News

ACT gives oral evidence at Select Committee Inquiry on Financial Education

ACT Chief Executive Calls for Overhaul of Financial Education in Citizenship

ACT gives oral evidence at Select Committee Inquiry on Financial Education

In a pivotal moment at the House of Commons Education Select Committee’s inquiry into financial education, Liz Moorse, Chief Executive of ACT, passionately highlighted the pressing need to urgently improve financial education within the Citizenship curriculum as part of a  national strategy to reprioritise Citizenship in schools. The inquiry, dedicated to the financial education of young people, witnessed Liz championing a more targeted approach to equip students with crucial financial knowledge and skills.

ACT Chief Executive Liz Moorse on Financial Education in the Citizenship curriculum

Key Points from Liz Moorse’s Testimony:

Liz Moorse emphasised the critical role in education of effective Citizenship teaching, asserting the  importance of the subject in preparing young individuals for the challenges of today’s society. She argued that Citizenship, which is a national curriculum foundation subject,  includes content on financial and economic education alongside politics, government, democracy, the law and human rights and gives a holistic foundation for active and informed citizenship that has real benefits for young people and society.

Liz highlighted ACT’s new research undertaken as part of a three year National Citizenship Education Study with Middlesex University. The study shows trained Citizenship teachers with a relevant qualifications provide more regular teaching of financial education than non-specialists in key stage 3 and key stage 4, and the value of GCSE Citizenship Studies. ACT’s research also shows that teachers with good subject knowledge organise a progressive and well planned approach to financial education in the curriculum. This includes recognising the role of money and simple budgeting in primary Citizenship,  exploring income, expenditure, and financial products in secondary and connecting personal and public finance and the economy as well as opportunities for active citizenship at GCSE level. She identified the need for much greater clarity to be written into teaching requirements for the subject so that schools are clear about and understand the expectations. She argued this must be prioritised in any future National Curriculum review and be backed with ongoing professional development so that teachers develop the confidence and subject knowledge needed to provide high quality financial education.

Liz expressed concerns about the variable provision and quality of Citizenship as a National Curriculum subject between schools, which can also have an unhelpful impact on financial education. She called for increased support, a long term strategy and consistency in national policy to elevate the status of Citizenship education in schools, enabling teachers to provide effective financial education as part of their Citizenship provision.

ACT Chief Executive Liz Moorse on Ofsted inspection

Presenting research findings, Liz highlighted the impact of teacher training and stressed the need for an annual guarantee of CPD provision for every subject teacher. She underscored the importance of consistent support for Citizenship education in schools by government and school leaders and for those who support financial education to help ensure teaching resources exemplify tried and tested models of delivery and appropriate pedagogies.

Ofsted confusion over the assessment of Citizenship and Personal Development

Discussing the recent Chief Inspector of Ofsted Annual Report published at the end of 2023 , Liz raised concerns about the inspection approach hindering the delivery of quality of Citizenship and financial education and giving mixed messages to schools. She noted contradictions in the report in the section on Personal Development which indicates that most schools were ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’, whilst also finding there is inadequate provision and quality for Citizenship and PSHE in many schools.  Liz also spoke about teachers’ frustrations with Inspectors who don’t seem to have a consistent understanding of the National Curriculum Citizenship teaching requirements or quality of provision for the subject. ACT’s evidence draws on firsthand accounts from ACT’s teaching community as well as evidence provided at previous select committee session in 2023.

Highlighting ACT’s initiatives to enhance financial education, Liz outlined the Association’s active role in raising awareness, providing accessible resources, and delivering professional development to teachers. Specific schemes of work with lessons, student resources and teacher guidance on themes including being informed consumers, the local and national economy and teaching about fraud and financial crime have been published by ACT in the past few months.

ACT Chief Executive Liz Moorse on PISA financial literacy study

In her recommendations for the future, Liz urged policymakers to prioritise Citizenship in the curriculum and to consider joining the International Study on Financial Literacy run by OECD and involving PISA Financial Literacy tests. She called for updates to the primary Citizenship programme of study, including making it statutory for a seamless progression to secondary education requirements. Emphasising the need for collaborative efforts across subjects, including with Maths, Liz stressed the importance of cross subject research and curriculum development such as that being led by the Royal Society’s project into the future of mathematics and the work led by Young Enterprise. 

As the Committee considers these recommendations, the focus remains on addressing challenges, optimising opportunities, and fostering cross-sector support for a more robust Citizenship subject that includes the best financial education for the next generation. 

The next evidence session of the Education Select Committee’s inquiry into Financial Education is due to take place in March 2023.

Watch the full video of the Education Select Committee’s inquiry into Financial Education here.