In a move that will raise fears about financial literacy for teachers and staff, the Teachers’ Union of Great Britain (TUFGB) is calling for teachers to have to pass a “proper” financial literacy test, as part of its proposals for compulsory financial education for all teachers in England and Wales.
It has written to the Department for Education and Skills, the head of the Department of Education, calling for the introduction of a test that would include “financial literacy”, as well as other relevant skills, in a bid to curb the spread of the “hidden financial illiteracy” that is believed to be endemic in some parts of the education system.
“We know that the hidden financial illiteracies that exist in our education system are a serious concern for many teachers and young people.
The Government should be providing the right guidance and support to ensure that the right support is in place for teachers in their role to ensure they have the right skills to ensure students achieve their potential,” said TUFGB general secretary Paul Johnson.
Currently, teachers and their staff receive financial literacy assessments, but only about a third of those who are assessed pass.
A recent report by the National Centre for Teaching Excellence (NCTE) found that while only 3% of teachers are considered “passing” on the assessment, this was up from 2% in 2011.
If teachers are given a “pass” for financial literacy, this means they are “proficient” on financial literacy tests.
In addition, more than a quarter of teachers who are tested fail to pass the financial literacy assessment.
This means that they are less likely to be able to provide the level of financial literacy that is needed to help them support their pupils academically.
According to the report, financial literacy is one of the most complex skills teachers need to be “passive and effective”.
The TUFBBG said the aim of the new test should be to help teachers “learn to support pupils to achieve their full potential”.
“Financial literacy can only be achieved when a teacher is confident that the student understands their needs, is able to take on responsibilities and understands the value of their work,” the TUFBU said.
“[The] financial literacy examination is an important step towards this goal.
It is part of the training we need to ensure teachers are in a position to support students to achieve a full range of skills.”
The TUFA said it was concerned that a “financial illiteracy test” would be seen as a “silver bullet” for reducing the spread.
But the union also acknowledged that it had concerns about the level and scale of the test, which would be a huge undertaking for all staff.
TUFFA general secretary and leader Paul Johnson: “A financial literacy exam is a massive undertaking for teachers.
The test will be a massive task for all workers.
The TUFBA is concerned that the financial illiterate test will not be fully implemented, and is also concerned about the scope of the exam and the impact it will have on other sectors of the school.”
The TBUGB is calling on the government to “implement a financial literacy education test that will include financial literacy and other relevant lessons in schools, to ensure all teachers are adequately prepared to effectively support the learning of students”.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the Department said: “The Government has long recognised the importance of training teachers and supporting pupils to succeed.
We are committed to increasing the numbers of teachers and support staff who are financial literate.”
We are also working with schools, councils and the education industry to ensure the test is well supported.