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Financial Capability - 12 to 16 year olds

What is 'Financial Capability'?

The UK's Financial Services Authority defines financial capability as the ability to:

  • manage money
  • keep track of finances
  • plan ahead
  • make informed decisions about financial products
  • stay up to date about financial matters.

Nationwide believes that it is particularly important for young people to develop a good understanding of how to manage their money, and eventually their debt, effectively and responsibly.

The education departments for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland view the teaching of financial capability in schools as increasingly important. Financial education is part of the statutory curricula for all countries within the UK.

The most recent and comprehensive guidance on teaching financial capability to the secondary age range was released in November 2008 by the then Department for Children, Schools and Families (now the Department for Education DfE) - Guidance on financial capability in the secondary curriculum: key stage 3 and 4. The Guidance was also adopted by the Personal Finance Education Group (pfeg), the UK's leading finance education organisation.

The guidelines divide financial capability education into four principles:

  • Exploring career and personal finance
  • Exploring capability and personal finance
  • Exploring risk and personal finance
  • Exploring economic understanding and personal finance.

There follows a full list of the DfE learning outcomes for Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4. In the Curriculum Links section, you can see how Nationwide Education's resources link to these objectives, as well as the curricula for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

'Financial Capability' objectives

Learning Outcomes (KS3) Learning Outcomes (KS4)
Exploring career and personal finance
  • Understand how wages/salaries are calculated (hourly, weekly, annually, bonuses, overtime).
  • Understand about different types of allowances and benefits available to me when I start independent life.
  • Be able to estimate and calculate take-home pay for different occupations and circumstances.
  • Have explored attitudes to priorities, needs and wants for the near future and later.
  • Understand how wages and salaries are calculated.
  • Understand how deductions such as tax, national insurance and pension contributions affect take home pay and what they are used for.
  • Be able to identify financial qualities, attitudes and skills for employability.
  • Be able to calculate young people's earnings and benefits including Education Maintenance Allowance and student finance/loans.
  • Have explored attitudes to financial implications of career and other personal life choices/priorities.
Exploring capability and personal finance
  • Understand different ways to pay for goods and services and different forms of credit or debit arrangement.
  • Understand how holiday currency is arranged and how to calculate conversion rates.
  • Understand ways of choosing, opening and using different forms of bank account.
  • Be able to plan budgets for current weekly finances as a consumer.
  • Be able to use different ways of recording spending and savings.
  • Be able to choose financial products in different circumstances.
  • Have explored attitudes to how ineffective use of money can result in wasted resources.
  • Understand implications of credit and debt (loans, overdrafts, mortgages), how costs accumulate over time.
  • Be able to compare the advantages and disadvantages of different forms of payment.
  • Be able to balance income and expenditure - weekly and longer term budgeting.
  • Be able to interpret bills and personal finance statements, extracting key information.
  • Be able to calculate compound interest including the significance of AER and APR.
  • Be able to find, use and evaluate financial advice and information from Internet, product advertising, financial advisors, Citizens' Advice Bureaux.
  • Be able to use their knowledge of the market to work out the best deal in products and services.
  • Be able to use understanding to calculate exchange rates.
  • Have explored attitudes to social, emotional and cultural factors influencing financial decisions.
  • Have explored attitudes to sacrificing current spending for long-term benefits (e.g. investments, pensions, further and higher education).
Exploring risk and personal finance
  • Understand how risk can be positive as well as negative and what basic financial decisions contain risks.
  • Understand how personal interest rates are calculated and how they vary according to the level of risk and length of commitment.
  • Understand that financial decisions are more about circumstances and personal choices than right answers.
  • Understand when typically insurance might be needed or not needed.
  • Understand how the stock market works, including positive and negative risks associated with it.
  • Be able to find accurate information about choosing savings accounts and other financial products (minimising risk).
  • Be able to consider the likelihood or otherwise of key national or international events affecting personal money.
  • Have explored attitudes towards issues associated with gambling and how to avoid problems with it.
  • Understand how insurance works and the types of insurance relevant to young people.
  • Understand how and why interest rates vary over time, according to the level of risk associated with them (including length of commitment) and how this can affect people.
  • Understand the differences between secured and unsecured loans and purchase agreements. Understand the differences in risk and return between saving and investment products.
  • Understand the financial skills needed and risks involved in setting up and running a business. Be able to make a basic risk/reward assessment in relation to saving and borrowing (and quantify the risk on the basis of past data).
  • Be able to develop a sense of financial risk and recognise and learn from mistakes in financial decisions.
  • Have explored attitudes to the risks and rewards related to gambling.
Exploring economic understanding and personal finance
  • Understand the role of business in generating wealth - and what happens to it.
  • Understand how local services are paid for.
  • Understand the main forms of taxation.
  • Understand the role of charities and choices about giving to them.
  • Understand some effects of turbulence in the financial markets.
  • Be able to find and access advice about money.
  • Have explored attitudes to environmental and ethical issues related to consumer choices.
  • Understand that private sector financial institutions make money through charging a higher rate of interest to borrowers than is paid to savers and by selling other financial services.
  • Understand how companies and other organisations are financed.
  • Understand how and why foreign exchange rates fluctuate.
  • Understand the main areas of national and local government finance and spending.
  • Understand rights and responsibilities re: financial products.
  • Be able to identify services and support available to a person setting up their own business.
  • Have explored attitudes to local, national and global decisions that affect finances and impact on personal lives.
  • Have explored attitudes to personal spending in relation to fair trade, ethical trading, ethical investment.

Programme content

For 12 to 14 year olds

  • Interactive board game 'Money Matrix'12-14 year olds
    • Sub Games
      • Quickfire Questions
      • Triple Trivia
      • Pic Quiz
      • Amazing Anagrams
      • Finance Finder
      • Vox Spot
      • Pay Packets
      • Word search
  • Mobile Mayhem
  • Fact sheets12-14 year olds
    • FA1 - Earning Money
    • FA2 - Benefits
    • FA3 - Careers
    • FB1 to FB4 - Forms of Payment
    • FB5 - Currencies and Exchange Rates
    • FB6 - Financial Services
    • FB7 - Financial Organisations
    • FB8 - Personal Finance Documents
    • FB9 - Budgeting
    • FB10 - Money Saving Tips
    • FC1 - Business and the Economy
    • FC2 - The Credit Crunch
    • FC3 - Risk and Return
    • FD1 - Charities and Ethical Shopping
    • FD2 - Taxation
  • Work sheets12-14 year olds
    • WA1 - Earning Money
    • WA2 - Spending Money
    • WA3 - Money versus Barter Systems
    • WA4 - Pay Packets
    • WB1 - Forms of Payment
    • WB2 - Currency Quiz
    • WB3 - Personal Finance Documents
    • WB4 - Budgeting Activities
    • WB5 - Budget Sheet
    • WB6 - Money throughout our Lives
    • WB7 - Money Maths - Perfect Percentages
    • WB8 - Money Maths - Correct Change
    • WB9 - Money Maths - Balancing Budgets
    • WC1 - Insurance
    • WC2 - Interest Rates
  • Final Quiz
  • Glossary12-14 year olds

For 14 to 16 year olds

  • Interactive board game 'Money Matrix'
    • Sub Games
      • Quickfire Questions
      • Triple Trivia
      • Amazing Anagrams
      • Finance Finder
      • Vox Spot
      • Pay Packets
      • Currency Challenge
      • Word search
  • Eshop
  • Fact sheets
    • FA1 - Earning Money
    • FA2 - Income Tax and National Insurance
    • FA3 - Benefits
    • FA4 - Financial Support
    • FA5 - Careers
    • FA6 - Business Enterprise
    • FB1 to FB4 - Forms of Payment
    • FB5 - Managing Money Abroad
    • FB6 - Personal Finance Documents
    • FB7 - Banking Methods
    • FB8 - Electronic Banking
    • FB9 - Money Saving Tips
    • FB10 - Tips for Managing Debt
    • FB11 - Budgeting
    • FC1 - Types of Debt
    • FC2 - Insurance
    • FC3 - Risk and Return
    • FC4 - Business and the Economy
    • FC5 - The Credit Crunch
    • FD1 - Exchange Rates
    • FD2 - Local and National Taxation
    • FD3 - Giving to Charity
    • FD4 - Ethical Spending
  • Work sheets
    • WA1 - Benefits
    • WB1 - Forms of Payment
    • WB2 - Budgeting Activities
    • WA6 - Business Enterprise
    • WB3 - Budget Sheet
    • WB4 - Saving and Borrowing
    • WB5 - Money throughout our Lives
    • WB6 - Money Maths - Percentages
    • WB7 - Money Maths - Compound Interest
    • WB8 - Standing Order
    • WC1 - Insurance
    • WD1 - Exchange Rates
    • WD2 - Local and National Taxation
    • WD3 - Giving to Charity
    • WD4 - Seeking Financial Advice
    • WD5 - Advertising and Branding
  • Final Quiz
  • Glossary