Martin Lewis funds financial education textbook for 700 UK schools

Financial expert Martin Lewis has announced the rollout of his new textbook for schools across Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales

by Patrick Sullivan, Political Editor on 30 July 2020 08:56

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Young Money has announced the launch of the first ever financial education textbook to hit schools in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Over 45,000 books will be sent free to schools over the next 14 months, as well as an accompanying teacher’s guide (available digitally). The textbook will also be available as a free PDF download to anyone who wants it.

This launch follows the successful roll-out of the textbook in England.

In November 2018 340,000 copies of the very first financial education textbook in the UK, ‘Your Money Matters’, were delivered into English secondary schools.

This was funded by Martin Lewis, the Money Saving Expert, with a personal donation of £325,000 to the financial education charity Young Money to develop and distribute this milestone resource and accompanying teacher’s guide.

Aimed at supporting the financial capability of those aged 15 to 16, the reality is that the textbook has been used across multiple year groups and within a wide range of subject areas. Since being delivered into every state-funded secondary school in England, the Money and Pensions Service funded an evaluation of the impact that Your Money Matters had on recipients.

The data revealed that 89% of teachers said that Your Money Matters would improve the quality of financial education in their schools and 88% of teachers said the textbook would increase their confidence to deliver financial education.

Following the success that Your Money Matters has received in England, the Money and Pensions Service and Martin Lewis are splitting the cost of the £368,000 project, funding Young Money to develop versions of the textbook for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. State-funded secondary schools in each nation will receive both printed and digital copies of their textbook over the next 14 months: Northern Ireland – January 2021 (12,000 copies in total) Scotland – March 2021 (21,500 copies in total) Wales – September 2021 (12,500 copies in total) The educational textbook contains facts and information as well as interactive activities and questions for the students to apply their knowledge.

It covers savings, borrowing, risk and reward as well as security and fraud. Whilst the key financial topics will remain largely the same, a review in each nation, consisting of focus groups with teachers and devolved government representatives for education, is being conducted to identify the amendments required.

This will ensure that the textbook in each nation maps to the respective education curriculum as well as taking into account the specific needs and financial legislation in each country.

Once complete, up to 75 copies will be delivered for free into every secondary school in each nation.

Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert (though donating in a personal capacity) said: “The pandemic has shown the lack of personal financial resilience and preparedness of the UK as a whole. Not all of that can be fixed by improving financial education, but a chunk of it can. Of course, we need to educate people of all ages, yet young people are professionals at learning, so if you want to break the cycle of debt and bad decisions, they’re the best place to start.

"I was one of those at the forefront of the campaign to get financial education on the national curriculum in 2014, and we celebrated then 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. So even though I questioned whether it’s right that a private individual should fund a textbook, no one else would do it, so I put pragmatics over politics and did it in 2018. I’m delighted that now we’ve proved the success of that book in England. The Money and Pensions Service has agreed to team up to provide this much-needed resource for the rest of the UK’s nations – adding a rightful sense of officialdom to the whole project.”

Sharon Davies, CEO at Young Money and Young Enterprise added, “We are thrilled that Young Money is able to develop the Your Money Matters textbook for every UK nation. Financial education is critically important for all young people, and it is fantastic that the difference this has already made within England can now be extended to Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. We look forward to working with our partners in each of these nations over the next year.”

Sarah Porretta, Strategy and Insights Director at the Money and Pensions Service added, “We know that learning about money when we’re young can have a direct impact on the ability to manage money later in life. However, too many young people are entering adulthood without being prepared for the money-related challenges that lie ahead.

"The launch of the Your Money Matters textbook in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland is a vital step towards more teachers having the confidence, skills and knowledge to teach financial education. As part of our UK Strategy for Financial Wellbeing, we want to see a further 2 million children and young people getting a meaningful financial education so that they become adults able to make the most of their money and pensions.”

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