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Understanding money matters

Thirty pupils from schools across Manchester attended a recent financial literacy workshop at Manchester Museum where pupils and teachers were given the opportunity to test out and share their views on a range of financial literacy resources.

The day opened with a short play written and performed by undergraduate students and directed by Ed Whitfield from Oasis Hub Oldham. Pupils were then shown how to use role play to act out real-life scenarios relating to finance, such as the pitfalls of borrowing from a loan shark.

Ian Brewer from Bradford District Credit Union also presented jargon-busting lessons around money and finance, drawing pupils’ attention to issues such as contactless payments, unauthorised overdrafts and credit scores.

Co-organiser Arif Khurshed, Professor of Finance at Alliance MBS, explained: “Knowing how to manage money is an extremely topical issue for young people today. But how often do parents talk to their children about money management issues? At what age should financial education start?

“We were particularly keen to hear what children felt should be included in a school financial education curriculum, and from initial feedback the response was that students really felt they were stimulated by our workshop and liked its interactivity.”

Ed Whitfield added: “Financial exclusion is an increasing issue in our communities. Personal finances are becoming more and more challenging to manage, increasing the need for financial education. However, with an already loaded schedule, schools are finding it difficult to insert this important theme into the curriculum. Without more systematic support, those working with schools and communities on increasing financial inclusion need a creative approach to engaging young people on what can be, at best, a dry topic, and at worse, a topic that causes stress and anxiety.”

The idea for the workshop came out of discussions between Alliance MBS and Manchester City Council, school teachers, and practitioners involved in running financial capability sessions for young people. The event was funded by the University of Manchester Humanities Strategic Investment Fund (H-SIF).

After analysing the feedback organisers will now share their findings with participating schools and others. Workshop co-organiser Professor Susanne Espenlaub from Alliance MBS said the event was part of an ongoing H-SIF funded project aimed at bringing together researchers and practitioners in the area of financial education and literacy. She added: “We would urge anyone interested in this event, or in forthcoming events, to get in touch with us. We are particularly keen to hear from colleagues researching or working in this area.”

Schools participating in the workshop included St Peter’s RC High School, Whalley Range High School, The East Manchester Academy, Our Lady’s RC High School, and Pioneer House High School, with pupils aged from 13 to 18 attending.