Financial education learning framework in Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

History of development

In 2007, the United Kingdom Government set out its long-term aspiration to improve financial literacy in the United Kingdom including that every child has access to a planned and coherent programme of personal finance education in school. In July 2008, the Government and the Financial Services Authority (FSA) set out a joint action plan for financial literacy which included a significant programme of work to support personal financial education in schools.

The Northern Ireland framework for financial education is provided on a dedicated website: “Northern Ireland Curriculum Financial Capability” developed in 20079. The website is the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Executive, Council for the Curriculum, examinations and Assessment (CCEA).

Learning outcomes/standards

Learning outcomes are provided for each of the above dimensions.

  • 1. Financial knowledge and understanding: Desired outcomes. Pupils will:
    • • develop the skills required to deal with everyday financial issues; and
  • • be able to make informed decisions and choices about personal finances.
  • 2. Financial skills and competence: Desired outcomes. Pupils will:
    • • be able to identify and tackle problems or issues with confidence; and
    • • be able to manage financial situations effectively and efficiently.
  • 3. Financial responsibility: Desired outcomes. Pupils will:
    • • be aware that financial decisions and actions are closely linked with value judgements (social, moral, aesthetic, cultural and environmental as well as economic) and therefore have social and ethical dimensions.

Topics/issues covered and goals

The framework provides a statement of the topics/issues to be covered and their goals at each key stage. These are presented in two ways. The first is a description of what students will learn at each stage. These are as follows:

Foundation Stage: beginning to learn about and to manage their money.

During the Foundation Stage, children talk about the need to pay for goods (the exchange of goods for money). They learn about the different payment methods (cash, cheque, credit/debit card). They talk about and recognise coins (from 1p to ?2) in various contexts and role-play activities, becoming familiar with coins in everyday use. They talk about where money comes from, how to get it and how to keep it safe. Children explore what to spend their money on and how it makes them feel. They talk about what it means to have more than needed and what can be done with extra money.

Key Stage 1: laying financial foundations for the future.

During Key Stage 1, children learn about money and making real choices about spending and saving money in the context of their own lives, including how to solve whole number problems involving money. They learn that money comes from different sources and can be used for different purposes. They learn about the importance of looking after money and that people will make different choices when spending their money. They learn about social and moral issues about the use of money in everyday lives.

Key Stage 2: learning to manage money and spend wisely.

During Key Stage 2, pupils learn about making simple financial decisions and consider how to spend their money e.g. pocket money and contributions to charity. They learn that their decisions can have individual, social and environmental consequences. They explore the concepts of earnings, expenses and budgeting. By learning how to look after money, they begin to understand that financial circumstances and standards of living can vary across time and place. They explore the different values and attitudes that people have with regard to money.

Key Stage 3: what influences you when it comes to spending money?

At this stage, pupils need to learn about what influences how we spend or save money and how to become competent at managing personal money in a range of situations including those beyond their immediate experience. They learn how local and central government is financed. They leam about insurance and risk and about making safer choices about healthy lifestyles. They learn about social and moral dilemmas and about the use of money including how the choices they make as consumers affect other people’s economies and environments. They learn to solve complex numerical problems involving money including calculating percentages, ratio and proportion.

Key Stage 4: learn about the importance of managing money.

During Key Stage 4, pupils learn about financial decision-making and money management and to use a range of financial tools and services, including budgeting and saving, in managing personal money. They learn about, and how to assess the different sources of financial help and advice available to them. They learn about how the economy functions and the rights and responsibilities of consumers, employers and employees. They learn about the different risks and returns involved in savings and investments. They develop an understanding of the wider social, moral, ethical and environmental consequences of personal financial decisions. They continue to learn to solve complex numerical problems involving money including calculating percentages, ratios and proportions.

Detailed overviews of financial literacy in the curriculum are provided for each Key Stage. These include a list of topics to be covered for each of the dimensions. As an example, in Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 these are:

Financial knowledge and understanding:

  • • what money is and the exchange of money.
  • • where money comes from.
  • • where money goes.

Financial competence:

  • • looking after money.
  • • spending money and budgeting.
  • • financial records and information.
  • • risk and return.

Financial responsibility:

  • • making personal life choices.
  • • consumer rights and responsibilities.
  • • the implications of finance.
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