Child Trust Funds to boost financial literacy in schools

10 September 2007
By the time the first Child Trust Fund (CTF) holders reach school age, the national curriculum will provide new personal financial education in maths lessons using CTF principles as learning examples.

It will feature information on taxation, personal budgeting and savings, as well as financial products such as pensions, interest rates, trade and investment.

Secretary of state for children, schools and families, Ed Balls, said: “We plan to use it [the CTF] to make personal finance real and tangible in the classroom.”

“It is vital children understand how maths is relevant to everyday issues like opening a bank account, shopping and saving,” he added.

Adding to this, treasury minister, Kitty Ussher, believes: “The skills they will learn in class, combined with the experience of having their own savings product, will better equip them to avoid financial problems in later life.”

A recent survey from Abbey revealed that approximately 10 per cent of British adults would score less than 40 per cent in a simple personal finance examination. Therefore, this new government initiative – which will receive an allocation of approximately £11.5 million – will both boost understanding of money matters and help to promote the CTF scheme.

Chief economist at Abbey, Barry Naisbitt, expressed his approval of the strategy: "Using Child Trust Funds as a way of encouraging interest and learning about financial education is a clever initiative that will help to both educate and maintain a strong level of long-term interest in CTFs."

Furthermore, TISA (the Tax Incentivised Savings Association) said it is “delighted” that the government is to use the CTF as part of the new programme and hopes that learning will extend beyond the classroom and into the home. Its director general, Tony Vine-Lott, said: “Using a universal asset, like CTF, as a real-life example will bring home concepts of money and finances like few methods could.”

It hopes to encourage parents to pay more into their children’s accounts, and director general of the Building Societies Association (BSA), Adrian Coles, agrees with this. "As well as educating children about money matters, talking about the CTF in schools will hopefully help to keep it in the minds of parents. As an 18-year investment it is important that parents don't just deposit the voucher and forget about it," he said.

Chief executive of Family Investments, John Reeve, also believes the scheme could help parents. “The new initiative will help comfort the 38 per cent of parents who are concerned about what their child will do with the fully matured account.” The Children’s Mutual’s chief executive of, David White, believes many adults wish such education had been available to them during their time at school. “This is really excellent news. In over 30 years of talking to people about finance, pensions and savings, I have never met anyone who didn’t wish they had learned more about money at school,” he said.

Find out more about Child Trust Funds