Call for Norwich schools to teach children more about money

Schools should be made to teach Norwich children the dangers of tumbling into debt, according to a city MP who fears generations of young people are lacking vital information about how to manage money.

Norwich North MP Chloe Smith has joined forces with the Citizens Advice Bureau and finance companies such as Barclays and Aviva to set up a city-based project to get people the information they need about money, debt, banking and loans.

She believes if schools did more to teach children about money then it would reduce the number of people who find themselves in financial turmoil later in life. With the average household having debts of more than �16,000, not including mortgages, Miss Smith said: 'It is vital that we equip the next generation with the understanding to be able to make informed financial decisions.

'Young people need to know about finance, and all the more so in such tough economic times when every penny really does count.

'I will be arguing hard for this kind of education to continue in schools, along with subjects like politics, economics and law, now that the new government is reviewing the national curriculum.'

She said there were excellend voluntary organisations already providing debt or money advice in and around Norwich, backed by the private sector.

Tom Samain, head teacher of the Hewett School in Norwich, said some degree of education about money happened through the personal, social and health education element of the national curriculum.

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He said: 'It's very, very important that kids understand about money management, particularly at a time when there is so much credit still available.

'We have been used to the idea of credit, so we have had a generation of children who have seen adults flip the credit card when they want to buy something. But now we are hearing a lot of horror stories about the debts people run up, so it would be nice to see a bit more emphasis from the government on the importance of it.'

Miss Smith attended the launch of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Financial Education for Young People – a major campaign to make financial education compulsory in schools.

She has launched a working group with the CAB in Norwich, along with organisations already doing work in city to educate people on finances, including the Norfolk Community Advice Network, WEETU, local credit unions, Barclays and Aviva.

Do you think children should be taught how to manage money as part of the national curriculum? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email