The revision of the secondary school curriculum for England announced today includes the teaching of basic personal finances:
New Schools Secretary Ed Balls wants young people to be equipped with an understanding of finance topics such as debt, tax and pensions… …This will also include lessons about life at work - such as teaching about careers, economics and enterprise.
Low minimum levels of entry to the profession have led to a situation where fewer than half the primary teachers with A-levels had gained better than a D grade, it says. The study says that official figures mask massive staff shortages in key subject departments and claims that lessons are being taken by staff who are not up to the job. Only 41 per cent of those studying to be secondary school teachers had a degree in the subject they went on to teach, it says. The lack of specialist teachers has led to a situation in which the majority of science in state schools is taught by biologists, according to the study by Politeia, the Right- wing think tank.
As damning as those figures are however, teachers are not nearly as unqualified as Ed Ball’s and the rest of the government to lecture children on enterprise, thrift and sound financial management.
Lessons in enterprise must sound rather hollow from a government that has been so responsible for increasing the regulatory and tax burdens on small businesses - £12 billion a year is spent on regulating business and trade in the UK. Not to mention lessons on avoiding debt - in the financial year 2005-06 the government borrowed £37.8 billion, representing 3% of GDP.
Every year borrowing figures are overshot, indeed, the government is so addicted to spending and borrowing that Brown used to boast proudly when Chancellor that borrowing is forecast to decrease to a meager £24 billion in 2001-12 This level of debt is unsurprising when there is so much money swilling around the various levels of government, with huge quantities of taxpayers’ money wasted on bureaucratic pet projects, pointless initiatives and government jollies – in total £86 billion in 2005. Clearly, then, if anyone needs a lesson on finance and responsibility it is government.