New National Curriculum

The final framework for the National Curriculum for 2014 has been released by the Department for Education this month. We are very pleased to see that the new National Curriculum includes at least two new areas which will help to prepare young people for the workplace as well as for adult life generally.

The first of these is financial education, which is now on the National Curriculum after extensive campaigning by the Personal Finance Education Group – a financial education charity – and an All-Party Parliamentary Group on Financial Education for Young People. The success of the campaign shows what a force for good All-Party Parliamentary Groups can be when they are at their best.

Financial education is covered in two areas of the National Curriculum. One of these is the new curriculum for Citizenship, which includes a requirement to ensure that young people “are equipped with the skills to think critically and debate political questions, to enable them to manage their money on a day-to-day basis, and plan for future financial needs“. At Key Stage 3, pupils should be taught about “the functions and uses of money, the importance and practice of budgeting, and managing risk“. Then at Key Stage 4, pupils are required to be taught about “income and expenditure, credit and debt, insurance, savings and pensions, financial products and services, and how public money is raised and spent“.

There is also a requirement to cover financial education throughout the new Mathematics curriculum at all Key Stages – there is a full list of the references to financial education in the Maths curriculum here.

The second of these areas is the reform of the Information Technology curriculum to a new Computing subject. The programme of study for computing states that computing should ensure “that pupils become digitally literate – able to use, and express themselves and develop their ideas through, information and communication technology – at a level suitable for the future workplace and as active participants in a digital world”, and covers areas such as the ability to write computer programs.

One area that is unfortunately missing from this new curriculum is enterprise education, which we have argued should be on the National Curriculum as well. However, the introduction of financial education and computing are positive steps which should be welcomed – we only hope these steps will be built on in future to ensure that schools do everything within their power to prepare their pupils for adult life.

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