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Financial Education Provision Mapping 2021

Evidence type: Insight i


The Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) is a UK-Government sponsored organisation which helps people improve their financial wellbeing and build a better, more confident financial future. The skills, knowledge, attitudes and behaviours that are important foundations for good money management and financial wellbeing start to develop at an early age, and the UK Strategy for Financial Wellbeing, coordinated by MaPS, set a national goal to ensure two million more children and young people receive a meaningful financial education by 2030. A meaningful financial education is where a child or young person recalls learning about money at school which they found useful or has parents or carers who give them regular money, set rules about money and give them responsibility for spending decisions (or both).

While progress towards this national goal is measured through three-yearly surveys of children and young people, exercises which map the delivery of financial education programmes to them will help to inform and improve the activities needed to deliver the goal. An up-to-date map will be valuable to MaPS’s partner organisations in their development of financial education policies, strategies and programmes for children and young people.

The study

This report sets out findings from a mapping exercise undertaken by PwC and commissioned by MaPS to provide a snapshot of financial education programmes being delivered to children and young people across the UK in 2020/21. It updates similar mapping exercises undertaken in 2017/18 and 2019 and offers insights into:

  • the number of children and young people, parents, teachers and practitioners being reached;
  • the level and source of funding;
  • the types of organisations delivering financial education and the approaches and settings they use;
  • how programmes are being targeted to meet specific needs, including of children and young people in vulnerable circumstances; and
  • how programmes were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The mapping exercise was conducted between November 2021 and January 2022 using data collected through an online survey of providers and funders of financial education programmes: charities, banks, trusts and foundations and public sector bodies. 69 organisations responded to the survey, providing information about 102 programmes. Although programmes being delivered through schools and other services for children and young people may be covered indirectly by the exercise, day-to-day delivery by teachers and practitioners in schools or other services are not specifically mapped.

Key findings

  • Reach and spend of financial education provision: 102 programmes were reported to the survey, 44 of which covered all four nations of the UK.
    • The programmes reached approximately 6.3 million children.
    • The greatest reach appeared to be among children aged 5 to 11.
    • £9.3million was spent on the programmes reported by just under two-thirds of providers/funders (an underestimate due to missing data).
    • Reach and spend appeared to be greater in 2020/21 than 2019.
  • Targeting specific needs: The most frequently targeted groups included those:
    • with special education needs, learning difficulties or disabilities;
    • living in low-income households or in receipt of free school meals;
    • care leavers or children in care; and
    • Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities.
  • Funding and delivery: Financial services organisations were the largest funders and providers in terms of reach.
    • 80 programmes delivered directly to children and young people, 55 did so indirectly via intermediaries, 41 did both, and did so most often in educational settings via workshops and learning resources.
    • The most commonly covered themes were budgeting, keeping track and planning ahead, and making spending and saving choices. 54 programmes paused or discontinued delivery and a further 20 had difficulty engaging their beneficiaries during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Gaps: Notable gaps in provision included programmes for pre-school aged children, those targeting the specific needs of those in vulnerable circumstances and programmes covering digital payments and safety from financial exploitation, coercion and money muling.

Points to consider

  • Methodological strengths/weaknesses: The authors note that the information was provided voluntary by providers and funders and was missing some key fields. It may also be prone to error where fields were unclear or did not correspond well to provider/funder classifications or data systems.
    • The authors warn that reach metrics may be overstated where beneficiaries and intermediaries are reached by more than one programme. Reach metrics are best treated as an indication of scale rather than a direct measure.
    • The exercise does not allow for a full assessment of the depth or breadth of financial education programmes nor their quality or impacts.
    • Direct comparisons to previous exercises are not possible because it is not clear if observed differences are meaningful or an artefact of selective response by providers/funders to the different surveys.
  • Applicability: The study will be of limited applicability to other countries outside of the UK.
  • Generalisability/transferability: The report does not give any consideration to the likely coverage of financial education provision by the 69 responding organisations; i.e. to what extent these are expected to provide a full or representative snapshot of actual provision.
  • Relevance: The day-to-day provision of financial education by teachers and practitioners in schools or other services are not explicitly mapped by the study.

Key info

Year of publication
United Kingdom, England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales
Contact information

Money and Pensions Service