Finance lessons recommended

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Every child at a state school should be taught personal finance and economics, recommends a new government-commissioned review.

schools secretary, Ed Balls, will consult on the plan to make finance and economics compulsory at primary and secondary schools from September 2011, following the recommendation by Sir Alasdair Macdonald in his inquiry.

The aim is to ensure the next generation is better at managing money and understanding its role in society.

However, teaching unions warned of the danger of imposing yet another Whitehall measure on schools that would constrain heads' freedom.

The topics are already part of an umbrella subject called Personal, Social, Health and Economic education, which includes controversial areas such as sex and relationship education. The whole field is to be made compulsory at schools on Sir Alasdair's recommendation.

Many schools already teach personal finance and economics to all pupils, not just to children taking qualifications such as A-levels in economics or business studies.

Mike Harris, head of education and skills policy at the Institute of Directors, said: "It seems to be our instinctive reaction to every perceived weakness in society to say 'it needs to go into the curriculum', and the curriculum gets overloaded."

Stephen Alambritis of the Federation of Small Businesses said it was "high time" that compulsory education was introduced about "very, very basic things" that "should lead to youngsters learning the value of money".


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