From education to employment

Time to shake up the curriculum 83% of Brits call for money management and budgeting lessons in schools

students sat around tables
  • Over half (59%) believe investing and pensions should be part of the curriculum 
  • Understanding contracts, insurance and mortgages should also be prioritised

The UK education system is designed to give children the best start in life, with a diverse range of subjects used to give youngsters a well rounded education. However, according to a new study, a huge 80% of Brits can’t actually remember most of what they were taught in school, with 66% rarely using school skills in their adult life. 

Open Study College, an online distance learning provider, spoke to over 2000 Brits to uncover the nation’s feeling on the state education system. Shockingly, the research revealed more than 65% think the current curriculum is poor, with 87% believing some of the lessons are ‘useless’. 

Looking at what Brits wish they were taught instead, money management and budgeting tops the list, with over 83% agreeing that this was an important issue they do not have enough information on for adult life. Similarly, people also wished they knew more about mortgages and buying houses (39%), and investing and pensions (59%). 

Some practical skills also made the top 10, with two thirds stating that DIY and household repairs would be valuable lessons. Additionally, health-related subjects were of interest including women and men’s health / sex education (48%) and mental wellbeing (26%).  Overall, the top 10 subjects British adults wish they were taught in school are: 

  1. Money management and budgeting – 83%
  2. Household repairs / DIY – 66%
  3. Investing / pensions – 59%
  4. Womens and mens health / further sex education – 48%
  5. Understanding contracts / insurance policies – 42%
  6. Mortgages / buying a house – 39%
  7. Mental wellbeing – 26%
  8. Taxes – 25%
  9. Voting and politics – 24%
  10. Online safety and security – 23%

Other notable topics that people believe were missed off the curriculum include nutrition (22%), green policies (19%) and workers rights (16%).

With 67% of the UK not using skills taught in school, the survey also questioned the nation as to which topics and subjects we now feel are taking up precious room in our brains and have become a pointless part of our lives. The results showed that finding the value of X (32%), learning how to play the recorder (31%), and understanding Pythagoras’s Theorem (30%) are some of the least useful parts of the education system. 

Overall, the most useless school lessons were named as: 

  1. Value of X – 32%
  2. Playing the recorder – 31% 
  3. Pythagoras’s Theorem – 30% 
  4. Using a Bunsen Burner – 28%
  5. Types of dinosaurs – 23%
  6. Poetry – 22% 
  7. Long division – 21% 
  8. Shakespeare – 21% 
  9. Osmosis – 20% 
  10. Periodic table – 19% 

Samantha Rutter-Bryant, CEO and Founder of Open Study College said:

“Education is a wonderful thing, however it’s understandable that some people feel a disconnect between the lessons taught at school and their adult lives or professions. 

“There is absolutely a gap in the current curriculum when it comes to more practical ‘life lessons’ such as money management and mortgages, so it will be interesting to see how the school system adapts to the needs of a modern society over the coming years. For people looking to further their skills and education, and fill in the ‘gaps’ they perhaps didn’t learn at school, there are a number of online courses that could help such as Starting Your Own BusinessMindfulnessCarpentry and Joinery, and NCFE CACHE Level 3 Certificate in Understanding Mental Health. It’s never too late to learn a new skill, whether that’s to progress in your career or simply add another string to your bow.”   

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