I am a passionate champion of an education that gives children the real-world knowledge and skills that they need for later life. A good grounding in maths for children is essential for understanding things like interest rates, compound interest and the changing landscape of financial products. On Thursday, I was pleased to visit Chesterton Primary School in Battersea with the Schools Minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton (Nick Gibb), to mark the first ever set of national data on children’s times tables, alongside announcing up to £59.3 million of investment to continue to increase the quality of maths teaching.
In conversation with my local Jobcentre Plus team earlier this year, I was told that the No. 1 thing missing for school leavers is employability skills, which are partly about understanding finances, bank accounts, loans, credit cards and taxes—all the stodgy, boring, grown-up stuff. Does my right hon. Friend agree that making sure that school leavers are equipped with information about those things will stop them getting into financial difficulty as young adults and will set them up well for the future?
I agree that understanding finances is essential; I learned that myself in my Saturday job at St John’s market, where I worked in a shop from the age of 13. Education on financial matters also provides an opportunity to teach about fraud. Pupils receive financial education throughout the national curriculum in mathematics and citizenship; for pupils of secondary school age, that includes compulsory content covering the functions and uses of money, financial products and services, and the need to understand financial risk.