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Financial education in secondary schools in the UK

Published 10th May 2023

Compare the Market and MyBnk, in collaboration with the Centre of Economics and Business Research (Cebr), have launched new research to assess the current state of financial education in the UK.

This research models the positive impact of increased financial education in UK secondary schools.

Compare the Market have partnered with MyBnk, the UK's leading specialist financial education charity for young people in need, to help 11–18-year-olds get better access to high-quality financial education. Together, we aim to ease financial stress and help young people learn the skills they need to manage their money effectively. Over three years, the partnership aims to help over 70,000 young people directly.

While financial education is on the curriculum for UK secondary schools, in England, 80% of schools are academies or free schools. This means they can opt out of providing financial education. This research calls on the government to encourage high quality, expert-led financial education for every 11–18-year-old, regardless of their education pathway.

Our research reveals that:

  • Almost two-thirds (61%) of young people don’t recall receiving any financial education at secondary school
  • Only two in five (41%) young adults are considered financially literate, according to Compare the Market and MyBnk’s Financial Education measure. [1]
  • Among those who held credit cards, only 44% were considered financially literate.
  • On average, those who did receive financial education at secondary school were taught for approximately 48 minutes a month, or only 11 minutes per week.   

Number of young adults who received financial education at school and the total frequency per year

If just under three and a half hours each month is committed to financial education for 11-to 18-year-olds, this could help ensure that the majority of young adults in the UK are financially literate.  
The vast majority of 18–24-year-olds and teachers surveyed for this research support the implementation of regular financial education lessons in schools.  However, it is well known there are existing constraints on secondary school teachers. This is due to competing demands on their time and, in some cases, a lack of financial education teaching expertise. 

Share of young adults on whether they supported the regular provision of financial education lessons to students at school

Therefore, external resources, such as financial education charities, could be utilised to supplement in-school financial education. The research also demonstrates that financial education should not merely be confined to the classroom. There is also a role for parents, carers, businesses, employers, and the wider community.  

Share of all respondents who received financial education from the following alternative sources

Mark Bailie, CEO, Compare the Market comments:

“Everyday life is full of financial decisions, and many of these can be overwhelming if you don’t have the tools to help you secure the best outcome for yourself.

“At Compare the Market, we’re passionate about helping people save money and get great deals on their household bills. That’s why we are partnering with MyBnk to help more young people get better access to high-quality financial education, removing financial stress and helping them gain the skills they need to manage money in a cost-effective way.

“It’s clear that young adults at the start of their financial lives are bearing the brunt of inflation and the cost-of-living crisis. We will therefore continue to support MyBnk and work with policymakers, businesses, households, and schools to think seriously about how we, as a society, can improve financial understanding.”

Leon Ward, CEO, MyBnk comments:

“This research shows that two-fifths of 18–24-year-olds are not financially literate, a number that is deeply concerning, especially given the current economic crisis and its impacts on wellbeing. Wider research shows that rising costs are the major worry for over half (56%) of young people [2], who reported it caused disruption to daily life, particularly their diet and sleep – two cornerstones of good health and wellbeing. Improving the financial capability of young people can help them cope with this situation, and prevent serious future problems, including poor mental health, unemployment, and homelessness.

Despite our research showing the need for financial education, we recognise the pressures and constraints teachers are under. That’s why we strongly encourage the government, schools, businesses, and households to take advantage of external resourcing from organisations like MyBnk. Preparing children and young people to be financially confident and capable as they enter adulthood will provide rewards for us all.”

Notes for Editors


All data sourced and commissioned by the Centre of Economics and Business (Cebr) research on behalf of Compare the Market and MyBnk between February and March 2023

The surveys aimed to gather insights into financial education provision and young adults’ financial literacy in the UK. The young adult survey involved 4,000 participants, while the teacher survey had 645 respondents.

[1] As part of this research, a novel financial literacy measure, known as the Compare the Market and MyBnk FinEd measure, was introduced. This measure was developed by combining financial literacy questions from the well-established S&P FinLit survey with additional questions based on insights from Compare the Market and MyBnk. Young adults were presented with this set of questions, enabling Cebr to assess their financial literacy level, and determine the impact of a boost in financial literacy on the wider economy and society.

[2] Source = Young Mind

About Compare the Market  

Compare the Market was launched in 2006 and has grown rapidly over the past seventeen years to become one of the UK’s leading price comparison websites.

Compare the Market provides customers with an easy way to make the right choice for them on a wide range of products including motor, home, life, travel and pet insurance as well as utilities and money products such as credit cards and loans.

Compare the Market actively works with its brand partners to help provide great services to customers.

Compare the Market is a trading name of Compare The Market Limited. Registered in England No. 10636682. Registered Office: Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough, PE2 6YS. Compare The Market Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority for insurance distribution (Firm Reference Number: 778488). Energy and Digital products are not regulated by the FCA.

About MyBnk  

MyBnk is a charity that delivers expert-led financial education programmes to 5-25 year olds in UK schools and youth organisations – directly, virtually and online. Together with young people, they have created innovative, high impact and high energy workshops that bring money to life.

MyBnk cover topics such as saving, budgeting, debt, independent living and public and student finance. They also design projects and training programmes for others. Since 2007 they have helped almost 315,000 young people learn how to manage their money. Two thirds of their work is now with young adults in challenging circumstances, such as those leaving the UK care system, focusing on ‘survival’ money skills for independent living.