Is the Scottish Government neglecting financial education?

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Iona Bain

A flagship financial education scheme in Scotland that was under threat of closure this summer has received a much-needed lifeline after government funding failed to materialise.

The Stewart Ivory Foundation, which delivers workshops on financial management to 15,000 young Scots, was due to run out of money in July 2014 but the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investments has stepped in, providing a cash injection worth £45,000 as part of a three year sponsorship deal.

I reported on the lack of government support for Stewart Ivory and other pioneering financial education schemes back in February 2013 for the Herald.

It’s a relief that the CISI has intervened on this occasion, making it possible for schools to open their doors to Stewart Ivory’s team of volunteers.

But it’s also disappointing that the Scottish government did not put its money where its money was and pledge the necessary funds to keep these schemes going.

Financial education has supposedly been a lynchpin of the Scottish curriculum since 2008, but a little known study conducted by the Financial Education Partnership found that lessons flounder unless schools put a designated teacher or even department in charge of this subject.

It found 40 per cent of schools had nobody overseeing financial education when it ran a pilot of workshops in 2012, with the majority of volunteers – 71 per cent – experiencing problems when they visited students. Nearly one-third of schools didn’t have the right equipment to host the sessions.

One thing is clear; we’ve got a long way to go before we can say that financial education is truly valued in our school curriculum.

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