Financial education provision mapping 2021: Final report

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The provision of financial education for children and young people is key to ensuring we build strong foundations to help everyone make the most of their money and pensions.

Through the financial education provision mapping, the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) aims to provide a snapshot of financial education programmes for children and young people across the UK. This report sets out findings from the mapping exercise undertaken for 2020/21.

The skills, knowledge, attitudes and behaviours that help people to manage money and achieve good financial wellbeing begin to develop from an early age.

The UK Strategy for Financial Wellbeing, coordinated by MaPS, set a national goal to ensure two million more children and young people receive a meaningful financial education by 2030.

Progress towards this national goal is measured through the triennial Children and Young People’s Financial Capability survey; initial results from the 2022 survey will be published in early 2023. This report offers additional insights into the state of financial education provision across the country as the sector works towards the goal.

Methods and limitations

The mapping exercise was conducted by PwC and MaPS using information gathered through an online survey from providers and funders of financial education programmes. These include charities, banks, trusts and foundations and public sector bodies. MaPS would like to thank financial education funders and providers for taking part. 

Data collection took place between November 2021 and January 2022.

Key findings and conclusions

  • The exercise mapped 102 financial education programmes, with a combined annual spend of c£9.3m and combined annual reach of c6.3m children and young people, approximately 61% of 5 to 17-year-olds growing up in the UK.
  • Direct comparison to the provision mapping undertaken in 2019 is not feasible, as the analysis is based on information provided voluntarily by financial education providers and funders. However, the reported reach of the 33 organisations that completed the survey in both 2019 and 2021 had grown by c2 million children and young people. This reflects the fact that some of these organisations introduced new programmes, including those delivered online, since the last provision mapping exercise.
  • Financial services organisations were the largest funders and providers of financial education programmes, in terms of reach to children and young people. The 46 programmes funded by financial services organisations reached a total of c4.7m children and young people, with a total spend of nearly c£7.5m.
  • Gaps in provision identified through this exercise included: programmes for pre-school aged children; programmes targeting the specific needs of children and young people in vulnerable circumstances; and programmes that support learning about digital payments and financial safeguarding. In light of the importance of financial education starting early, the need for targeted financial education, the increase in digital transactions and the importance of protecting young people from financial exploitation and coercion, financial education funders and providers should explore how their programmes can address these gaps now and in the future. 
  • Programmes that delivered to children and young people made up a greater proportion of total reach and spend than those that involve delivery through intermediaries, such as teachers, practitioners and parents and carers. In light of evidence suggesting the benefits of train the trainer approaches and delivering financial education and guidance through trusted messengers, financial education funders and providers should explore what greater role they can play in giving those working with or caring for children and young people the skills they need to deliver quality financial education.
  • While most programmes use some kind of evidence to inform their design, only just over half of programmes were conducting or had conducted an impact evaluation. Funders and others seeking to strengthen the financial education sector should do more to support robust evaluation and ensure providers have accessible tools to support it.
  • The Covid-19 pandemic posed a significant challenge to financial education programmes, with just over half of programmes pausing, delaying or discontinuing their work. However, many adapted to the challenge, including by moving to virtual or digital delivery and developing home learning resources and support.

Next steps and how the use this research

MaPS’ will use the insights from this exercise to inform activity to deliver the UK Strategy for Financial Wellbeing national goals.

We hope it proves valuable for our partner organisations developing policies, strategies and programmes to improve the provision of financial education and the financial wellbeing of children and young people.