I was really interested to see the recent focus from Rishi Sunak on maths and some of the conversations it has generated about the link between maths and financial education.
I work with primary schools. It is compulsory for children to study maths in primary school. According to the latest Government Key Stage 2 Attainment report for 21/22, Maths attainment fell (vs the 2019 results) from 67% to 56% for disadvantaged pupils and from 84% to 78% for other pupils.
Accepting that this is the post pandemic cohort, the conclusion here is that almost half of children from low income families left primary school in 2022 without having acquired the basic skills on which their secondary education in maths is going to be based. Even before the pandemic started, one third of these children were in that same position.
These are the same children who come into the RedSTART Educate #ChangetheGame programme. Talk to them about money and their eyes twinkle. They know how important money is from very early on but they often don’t make the connection between money and their maths lessons. Most of them will never use roman numerals in their everyday lives. But they will all have to manage a budget, negotiate rents, mortgages or wages, and make decisions about the terms under which they save or borrow money.
That’s why the #ChangetheGame programme is focused on working with member schools to deliver financial education combined with incentivised basic maths practice in our primary schools across the UK. We see the same children every year throughout primary school and we are tracking changes in the children’s attitude, behaviour, confidence and mathematical ability through independent research conducted by The Policy Institute, Kings College, London.
The team at Kings are collecting the baseline surveys from our Y2/P3 and Y3/P4 children throughout January. Initial findings from the data collected will be available through RedSTART Educate in the coming months.
The purpose of the research is to provide the government with the evidence they say they need to prove that teaching primary school children about money has a positive impact. My aim is to shut the charity down in 2030 because the Government has agreed to introduce the blueprint provided through the #ChangetheGame programme in every primary school in the UK.
Let’s start teaching children about money when they start primary school, with the aim that every child in the UK starts secondary school with greater confidence and curiosity in respect of both maths and money.