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Your views needed

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by DM, Aug 29, 2011.

  1. DM

    DM New commenter

    Could I invite Mathematics Forum readers to give their views here on the personal financial education of young people in KS3 and KS4?
    Is this something you believe should be delivered by mathematics teachers or is it best left to our PSHE colleagues? I understand that some of you might be concerned it could take up valuable mathematics curriculum time so should it be timetabled separately? Do you, as mathematics teachers, already feel qualified to deliver this content or would you need additional training? Have you had any dealings with pfeg and what is your view of their website/ teaching resources? Would you prefer to engage outside speakers to deliver this material in your schools or would you fear they might use it as a marketing opportunity? Are you aware of the personal finance content in the GCSE Linked Pair and, if so, what do you think of it?
    I'm aboard but will be back soon. Hope you can help - any opinions gratefully received.
     
  2. Martin Lewis of Moneysavingexpert.com currently has a petition to get financial education recognised to be taught in schools. Link below for anyone who wishes to sign, they are currently over half way to the 100000 needed.
    http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/8903
    Personally, I think PHSE currently have time to do it but maths/financial specialists could be draughted in to give weight to the lessons.
     
  3. bombaysapphire

    bombaysapphire Star commenter

    I would be very happy to deliver personal financial education but then I was an accountant for years before going into teaching.
    I would want additional time to deliver it.
    I have seen aspects of personal finance delivered by outside speakers but the sessions are always very much a one-off so there is no opportunity for this important learning to be embedded. It would be a useful addition to it being covered during lessons but the timing would need to be carefully considered. A concern that I have with this type of session, having seen a couple of them, is the lack of differentiation.
     
  4. I personally would be happy to teach it as part of maths, but obviously time would be needed. Perhaps the earlier suggestion to remove some of statistics from maths to humanities/science etc would free up some time for this?
    The reason I would be happy to do this is because personal finance is a big interest of mine and hence I am quite knowledgeable (not that I know everything), yet I wonder whether teachers would have the skills to deliver this content, as from conversations to do with this with my colleagues has revealed that many have little or no experience dealing with personal finance (preferring to leave it to spouses) or they have not experienced having credit cards/mortgages/savings/student loans, depending upon their own personal circumstances.
    Though I would be willing to do this, I also question its effectiveness. I have taught personal finance in the last 4 years as part of one-off sessions where we have been required to teach something 'off-timetable' and have mixed feelings about it. I find some students shine as they are obviously very aware already. Those that aren't aware about personal finance aren't interested, and I think it's hard for them to relate to issues to do with personal finance when they have so little experience of it. For instance, they are used to dealing with small amounts of pocket money, but big issues like mortgages/current accounts/credit cards/loans are not on their radar and it's hard for them to relate to.
    Personally, and I know this is naive, I feel personal finance education should be the responsibility of parents as they can provide the education/advice as and when it's relevant to their children. However I am aware that many parents are not very clued up on finance themselves. I also think a lot of parents don't educate their children adequately on finance as they don't want to expose their children to money issues, and I can understand this though I believe it does them a disservice.
    There is a petition, started by Martin Lewis from MoneySavingExpert.com which is getting lots of signatures, so I do think the idea is popular. I can't help feeling it's another part of a children's upbringing which some parents are failing to address and so is being thrust onto the responsiblities of teachers. I would love to hear others' views on this.
     
  5. I would happily teach it, but I was involved with teaching it when I worked as a Bank manger through HSBC's involvement in the community.

    I think as the previous poster said it is something that should be taught by parents but, like sex education, isn't and is left to teachers to fill the gap.

    Perhaps it should be taught across the board in some sort of money awareness week, but what use would one week to teach such a massive subject do?
     
  6. MathsMum5

    MathsMum5 New commenter

    I too would be happy to teach personal finance as I have previously worked as a finance/debt officer for a high street bank. Through seeing firsthand what a dogs dinner a lot of the population make with their finances I do think it is an important topic that needs addressing.

    I have not heard of the pfeg website that DM quotes (will have a look later). Outside speakers can often be a good thing as it makes the topic more important for the pupils. If a few maths lessons were taken over to cover the topic would the children take as much notice or just view them as doss lessons?
     
  7. I agree with atics in that most pupils have little interest in things that have no direct bearing on their current situation. Even the very basic ideas of finance don't seem to generate much interest (ouch, what a terrible pun!).


    I would be pretty much against it being incorporated in citizenship, certainly most of the pupils I know regard the subject as being of little importance to them. It would be nice to see some element of it included officially in maths programmes of study.


    On the subject of would I be happy to teach it, yes, I would.
     
  8. one school i was in placement for taught it at PHSE level, the school i did my NQT at taught it in maths lessons (i did some with pie charts and pupils having their own amount of money of £360 for a month and how they would spend it)

    i think it should be in the maths classroom as it might get the kids more interested in maths (and more relevant in their mind)
     

  9. I tend to mention money as often as possible, because it helps grab their interest. I certainly make sure that when I cover repeated percentage increase, that I include 20 minutes or so looking at the BBC Mortgage Calculator and what a house will cost.

    I do another lesson near Xmas with an Argos catalogue where they have a budget to buy presents for a 4 person family (and find cheapest/dearest items in the catalogue). And as a finish to that lesson I show them the difference between buying it outright, or going for the £5 a week finance option, where many don't realise that a finance option works out more expensive.

    In that respect I'd be happy to include a few more lessons on personal finance, but only a few. It would depend how much time they expect us to spend on the issue. Like would we teach about walking into a bank and getting an account? Or the moremathematical aspects?
     
  10. I would also be happy to teach it and think that it is an essential skill for all students.
    Here's a radical idea: make financial Maths part of the Functional Skills area and ensure that there a re a number of financial type questions on the GCSE papers. Well, acutally, on the Basic Numeracy papers that could be sat by students at any age, leaving some to get on with more advanced Maths and some to continue learning about Basic Skills until 16 or 18...

    cyolba, awaiting the Twenty20 with glee :)
     
  11. DM

    DM New commenter

    Back home now so normal service is resumed.
    Thanks for these views - any more comments please?
     
  12. My wife works at a credit union and is continually shocked at most of her clients' lack of awareness/ignorance about financial processes and the responsibilities that come with credit and debt.
    Many, many of these are in their early twenties, having come through Labour's 'big government' where practically everything was done for them if they asked/waited long enough.
    Today's financial climate demands self-sufficiency in both earning and managing money, so it is increasingly imperative that we educate early enough so that students recognise and understand the value of the money in their pocket and how to make it work for them.
    I'm not sure if it's specifically a maths teacher's job to teach about finances though - just because we're good with figures doesn't make us good with money, I for one am terrible managing money, it's my dear wife who looks after all that for us, hahaha! [​IMG]
    Seriously though, as with the best mathematicians not necessarily being the best maths teachers, it isn't the best maths teachers who are the best financiers, I do feel it should be taught as a separate discipline. As with the case in English where English Language and Literature are taught separately - Language being the 'rules' and Literature the 'usage'.
     
  13. DM

    DM New commenter

    By whom? If we accept that this content should be taught in school, the only alternative is embedding it within PSHE lessons. I am taking the risk that a stray PSHE teacher might stumble upon this post and become enraged but a C grade in GCSE maths and a pass of the Numeracy Skills Test at the fourth attempt does not even guarantee a facility with percentages.
     
  14. If (but I doubt it) Business Studies is anything like it was when I studied it 15 years ago then the teachers of this subject are probably the best bet as the syllabus covers financial management, accounting and the like.
    I'm not dismissing the idea of maths teachers teaching financial management despite some being poor with money in their own lives - indeed to link to the English Language/Literature analogy I used earlier, many who teach the 'rules' of Mathematics should be able to demonstrate the financial implications...
     
  15. DM

    DM New commenter

    Well it would provide work for all those Business Studies teachers who were thrown on the scrapheap after the introduction of the Ebacc ...
     
  16. Harsh, but ultimately fair. My school has wholeheartedly jumped on the Ebacc bandwagon and it meant our only qualified Business Studies teacher has left for fresh pastures.
     
  17. googolplex

    googolplex Occasional commenter

    I'm not sure about this. Haven't we got enough to do already!?
    I think there are strong grounds for coordination between the PSHE curriculum and the maths curriculum. Make sure the kids have all the mathematical skills they need in advance of the unit where they do financial planning in the PSHE department. There is a hell of a lot involved in financial education which doesn't necessarily involve percentages, but does involve them realising that they can't spend their life 'consuming' without budgeting - that personal finance involves a good deal more than their mobile phone contract, and the odd shopping trip. Do you all really want to spend your maths lessons explaining loans, mortgages, utility bills, rent, budgeting, salary, pension, etc? Not for me, thank you...! And if the PSHE staff can't run their own finances, then they'll join a significant number of maths teachers who have similar issues...
     
  18. DM

    DM New commenter

  19. I have two problems with teaching financial management. Firstly, a lot of it is irrelevant to teenagers. I feel you need a certain amount of experience of running a car, renting a home, being taxed on the wrong tax code etc before you are motivated to learn about finances or get to grips with it. It's a bit chicken-and-egg, isn't it? Secondly, and personally, I can't get to grips with a lot of it. Take a mortgage rate - I don't understand what 4.5% actually means other than it's better than 4.6. And it doesn't really matter. It's the monthly repayments and term of the loan that's actually material to me.
     
  20. Sadly, none of this actually matters. As the Govenment is obsessed with getting rid of its predecessor's NC, via Academies and Free Schools etc, there will be no nationally agreed content for Mathematics. We will end up with the privileged doing IGCSE or its future equivalent and the rest basically forced into some kind of qualification that will make their schools look good.
    I can think of a number of topics that could easily be dropped from the NC (until kids have mastered the basics) and replaced with financial maths (which has the advantage of being at least potentially relevant), thus enabling kids to be au fait with the "real world" before they leave schools, rather than having a loose and slippery grasp of many irrelevant elements of Maths that they find dull and will rarely use.

    cyolba, back to his happy norm :)
     

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