Social Policy and Society


Children and Financial Education: Challenges for Developing Financial Capability in the Classroom

Lindsey Appleyarda1 and Karen Rowlingsona2

a1 School of Social Policy, University of Birmingham E-mail:

a2 School of Social Policy, University of Birmingham E-mail:


Financial education is viewed by both policy makers and the public as an increasingly important tool for developing financially capable citizens in an era of increasing individual financial responsibility. This paper considers the recent history of school involvement in teaching financial education. It then draws on research undertaken in summer 2010 at two Birmingham primary schools to explore children's understandings of key financial issues. The paper concludes that there appears to be a groundswell of momentum behind making financial education a compulsory part of the National Curriculum, but, even if this happens, there will be challenges in delivering such education in practice. For example, the role of values in financial education makes it a contested subject and teachers will need training and support to deal with this. They will also need to be supported to deliver financial education in a way which recognises diversity and sensitivity issues in the classroom.


  • Financial education;
  • financial capability;
  • education policy;
  • financial responsibility;
  • financial literacy