Money lessons may stop kids becoming easy prey

MATHS, English and science are set to be joined by a new subject in North Somerset’s school classrooms – money lessons.

More than 100 MPs have joined forces to call for financial education to become compulsory in schools, providing classes on cash, consumerism and debt.

This week, the move received further backing from senior young peoples’ leaders and debt advisors in North Somerset.

Council executive member for children and young people’s services, Jeremy Blatchford, said the idea was long overdue and it was time people were prepared for the ‘horrors of the outside world’.

He said: “Today, children leaving school are presented with an unbelievably hard situation.

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“There is a lack of jobs and prices are sky high, so it is vital young people have a good understanding about money.

“They are told through advertising to get the most up-to-date mobile phones, but upon purchase they can be caught up in expensive, lengthy contracts hidden away in small print.

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“Anything that is taught in school which could stop these people being less easy prey can only be a good thing and I fully support it.”

Last year, nationally, more than 50,000 under-25s visited their Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) to get help on debt.

In response, the organisation launched an online debt management campaign for young people, who it claims can suffer mental health issues because of their struggling finances.

In North Somerset, CAB director Anne Richards said most young people were getting into debt because of contractual payments for electrical goods.

She said: “Too often young people get sucked in to buying things on credit without thinking of the long-term implications.

“Although they cannot get credit cards as easily as they used to a few years ago, young people are still vulnerable to falling into debt, especially during hard economic times such as these.

“I’d welcome any lessons in controlling money better in the classrooms.”

The idea has already been used by some primary schools in the region. Last year parent Sarah Timms ran a five-week course called Quidz In at Locking Primary School in a bid to turn children into savers, not spenders.

Around 120 MPs have formed the All Party Parliamentary Group on Financial Education for Young People to push for children to be given the lessons on money. The group aims to push financial education up the agenda, co-ordinate the different agencies that are already working on the issue, and make resources available to schools that want to teach the subject.

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