29 May 2024

Parents say personal finance is a more important life skill than maths for schoolchildren

  • 59% of parents place personal finance above maths and digital skills – second only to literacy
  • Despite 96% saying personal finance education is important, 84% say their child hasn’t received any
  • Comes as Nationwide reaches 100,000 schoolchildren with its Money Lessons programme

Personal finance skills rank above maths, digital skills and cooking as parents prioritise money knowledge for children at school, new research from Nationwide highlights.

Almost nine in ten (89%) parents of 8-13 year olds say that more personal finance education would help their children better understand the value of money. More parents said personal finance was important (59%) than maths (51%), highlighting the value placed on practical skills in addition to traditional subjects.

Nationwide conducted the poll of 2,000 parents as it reaches a milestone of 100,000 students taught through its Money Lessons programme, which sees Nationwide employees volunteer in UK schools to deliver lessons for pupils aged five to 18. Previous feedback has shown that 98 per cent of students gained financial confidence through Money Lessons.

Over eight in ten parents surveyed (84%) said their child hasn’t received personal finance education at school, despite 96 per cent saying that it’s important for young people to understand money.

Of the minority (16%) who said that their child had received financial education, two thirds (66%) were taught about saving and half (50%) had learned to budget. However, just over a quarter (27%) had learned about debt or planning for the future, and less than one in five (19%) had learned about taxes.

The top subjects parents value at school are:

  1. Literacy (66%)
  2. Personal finance (59%)
  3. Maths (51%)
  4. Cooking (41%)
  5. Digital skills (26%)

In Brighton (77%), Belfast (73%), and Newcastle (72%), personal finance is viewed as the most important subject for children and young people to learn.

Surprisingly, less immediately practical skills held lower value in the opinions of parents: under 10 per cent said that science (9%) was a main life skill people should learn at an early age, and just seven per cent said the same about art.

Amanda Beech, Director of Retail Services at Nationwide, said: “It’s good that parents really value real-world, practical skills for their children as well as more traditional subjects. Financial education, which is to a greater extent based on maths, can help young people get to grips with the world of money. Our Money Lessons cover a range of topics – from how we manage and understand money to being able to spot and avoid fraud and scams. We encourage all our staff to get involved in their local community and it’s been heartening to see the level of take-up particularly among our branch staff, especially in the over 80 communities where we’re the last branch in town.”

Notes to editors

Notes to Editor:

The research was conducted by Censuswide with 2,000 parents of children aged between 8-13 between 23.04.24 to 26.04.24. Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles and are members of The British Polling Council.