All 3,400 state-funded secondary schools in England will get 100 free copies of a financial education textbook this week, thanks to a £325,000 donation from MoneySavingExpert.com founder Martin Lewis.
Your Money Matters, the first-ever curriculum-mapped financial education textbook, is aimed at students aged 15 to 16, and will teach them about topics such as savings, budgeting, borrowing, student loans and identity theft. It was written by the financial education charity Young Money with guidance from Martin.
Martin said: "I passionately believe that financial education could have a huge impact on the future wellbeing of millions of young people.
"When we got financial education on the national curriculum in 2014, we celebrated thinking the job was done. We were wrong. Schools have struggled with resources and there's been little teacher training. Something else was needed to make it easy for schools and teachers. I still wrestle with whether it's right that a private individual should fund this. Yet nothing else was forthcoming, and pragmatics outweigh principles.
"We live in one of the world's most competitive consumer economies, with companies spending billions on advertising, marketing and teaching their staff to sell, yet we don't get any buyer's training. That needs to change. We need to break the cycle of debt. The best place to teach is in the classroom – I hope this textbook will help make that easier.
"Yet us launching the textbook isn't enough. We need schools to teach it. The growth of academies mean less than half now follow the national curriculum. So parents, if you want your children to be tooled up to face the financial realities of life, why not have a polite word with teachers or the headmaster to encourage them to give it the time it needs."
The book is available as a free PDF download from the Young Money website.