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Free Financial Capability Textbooks arrive in NI Schools


Carol Fitzsimons, MBE, CEO Young Enterprise NI and Janine Maher, Country Manager (Northern Ireland), Money and Pensions Service

First ever financial capability textbook

First ever financial capability textbook to arrive in Northern Ireland schools as students return to the classroom this month. Free copies being sent to over 200 post-primary schools, jointly funded by Martin Lewis and the Money and Pensions Service, written by Young Money. This month, almost 16,000 copies of Your Money Matters, a financial capability textbook for students aged 14-16, will be arriving in Northern Ireland post-primary schools, completely free of charge.

The textbooks will land in classrooms in time for students returning after mass school closures due to the Covid pandemic. This follows the launch of the digital copies of the textbook and accompanying online teacher guides, which were made available for free in January, to support home learning.

The textbook has been developed to support schools to deliver a holistic programme of financial capability, providing more students with the essential knowledge, skills and attitudes towards money as they transition into greater independence. This is particularly crucial at a time when many families and individuals have been financially impacted by the pandemic. The 148-page, high-quality textbook has also been endorsed by CCEA.

Your Money Matters is designed for Key Stage 4 students, although it can also be adapted for use by both younger and older students. The textbook is mapped to the Northern Ireland curriculum and has been trialled with teachers and students. It is certified as a ‘Quality Mark’ resource, which is the UK’s only widely-recognised accreditation system for financial education resources.


What is in the textbook?

The importance of saving money, how to manage a budget, understanding payslips, student finance, protection against fraud and identity theft… it’s all covered in this highly informative and engaging resource. The textbook contains a wealth of facts and information as well as interactive activities and questions for students to apply their knowledge. The chapters are as follows:

  1. Savings – ways to save, interest, money and mental health
  2. Making the most of your money – budgeting, keeping track of your budget, ways to pay, value for money, spending
  3. Borrowing – debt, APR, borrowing products, unmanageable debt
  4. After school, the world of work – student finance, apprenticeships, earnings, tax, pensions, benefits
  5. Risk and reward – investments, gambling, insurance
  6. Security and fraud – identity theft, online fraud, money mules.

Why do we need the textbook?

Children and young people growing up today are exposed to an increasing range of financial decisions, from day-to-day activities such as whether or not to download apps and music online, through to longer-term decisions, such as how to finance a car purchase, and student financing. Financial Capability has been a statutory part of the Northern Ireland post-primary curriculum since 2007, however less than half of children and young people recall receiving a meaningful financial education in Northern Ireland.

Your Money Matters has been created by Young Money (part of Young Enterprise) to help give students the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to make informed decisions about managing money, now and in the future. By exploring a variety of themes around key topics such as saving, borrowing and the world of work, Your Money Matters will really help students to become financially capable and learn to manage money successfully.


In 2020, the UK Strategy for Financial Wellbeing ten-year framework was launched by the Money and Pensions Service to help achieve the vision of everyone making the most of their money. It aims to reach two million more children and young people with a meaningful financial education across the UK by 2030, and the textbook is an important step to achieving that ambition in Northern Ireland.

Martin Lewis - Your Money Matters
Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert

Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert (though donating in a personal capacity), comments: “The pandemic has shown the lack of personal financial resilience and preparedness of the UK as a whole. Not all of that can be fixed by improving financial education, but a chunk of it can. Of course, we need to educate people of all ages, yet young people are professionals at learning, so if you want to break the cycle of debt and bad decisions, they’re the best place to start.

I was one of those at the forefront of the campaign to get financial education on the curriculum in England in 2014, and we celebrated then thinking the job was done. We were wrong. Schools have struggled with resources and there’s been little teacher training. Something else was needed to make it easy for schools and teachers. So even though I questioned whether it’s right that a private individual should fund a textbook, no one else would do it, so I put pragmatics over politics and did it in 2018.

I’m delighted that now we’ve proved the success of that book in England, the Money and Pensions Service has agreed to team up to provide this much-needed resource for Northern Ireland – adding a rightful sense of officialdom to the whole project.”

“The pandemic has shown the lack of personal financial resilience and preparedness of the UK as a whole.”

Martin Lewis, MoneySavingExpert

Carol Fitzsimons, MBE
Carol Fitzsimons, MBE

Carol Fitzsimons, MBE, CEO at Young Enterprise NI comments: “It’s an increasingly complex world out there for young people, with a huge range of financial decisions that need to be taken from an early age, in the face of ever-increasing technological changes in the financial landscape. Your Money Matters aims to help young people get to grips with these money choices, which have such an important impact on their future. We couldn’t have produced Your Money Matters and the teacher’s guide without Martin Lewis OBE and the Money and Pensions Service, who funded its development and delivery, and we’re extremely grateful for this support.”

“We couldn’t have produced Your Money Matters and the teacher’s guide without Martin Lewis OBE and the Money and Pensions Service, who funded its development and delivery, and we’re extremely grateful for this support.”

Carol Fitzsimons, Young Enterprise NI


Janine Maher, Northern Ireland Manager at The Money and Pensions Service

Janine Maher, Northern Ireland Manager at The Money and Pensions Service comments: “We know that learning about money when we’re young can have a direct impact on our ability to manage money later in life. However, only 49% of 7-17-year-olds in Northern Ireland recall having had any financial education at school, which means too many young people are at risk of entering adulthood without being prepared for the money-related challenges that lie ahead. “The launch of the Your Money Matters textbook in Northern Ireland is a vital step towards equipping schools with the support they need to bring financial education to the forefront within the classroom and beyond. The financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic means that building money skills and confidence has never been more vital.

“The textbook forms part of a £2 million UK-wide package by the Money and Pensions Service to support the delivery of meaningful financial education, including to 60,000 more children growing up in Northern Ireland by 2030. This commitment is one of the ways we are supporting children and young people as part of our UK strategy for Financial Wellbeing.”

“The launch of the Your Money Matters textbook in Northern Ireland is a vital step towards equipping schools with the support they need to bring financial education to the forefront within the classroom and beyond.”

Janine Maher, The Money and Pensions Service

Enterprise Education Symposium
Justin Edwards, Chief Executive Officer of CCEA – Enterprise Education Symposium 2019

Justin Edwards, Chief Executive Officer of CCEA, comments: “Financial capability is an essential life skill for everyone, as people are faced with increasingly complex financial decisions in both everyday life and work situations. Financial Capability has been a contributory strand within the Northern Ireland Curriculum since 2007. It has enriched many aspects of formal and informal education through the exploration of personal financial contexts. While opportunities for the teaching and learning of financial capability occur across the Northern Ireland Curriculum at post-primary level, CCEA also offer a range of qualifications that develop financial knowledge, understanding and skills.

Martin Lewis OBE, the Money and Pensions Service and Young Money have put together an excellent ‘Your Money Matters’ textbook and teacher’s guide that can be used to assist the delivery of Financial Capability that is linked to the curriculum and helps prepare our students for life after school.”

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