RedSTART kicks off major research project to study the link between early life financial education and social mobility

by | Sep 29, 2022

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RedSTART, the charity set up to improve financial education for children, has launched a major study assessing the link between primary-age financial education and social mobility. Over the next seven years, the charity will work with 47 primary schools and c.17,000 children in underprivileged areas to determine whether there is a benefit to having money lessons early in life.

As part of the first phase of the project, RedSTART will commission Kings College Policy Institute to conduct a longitudinal study evaluating the attitude, behaviour and educational attainment of children receiving financial education from RedSTART versus those not receiving any support.

For schools receiving intervention, central to the programme will be the RedSTART Bank app, which allows children to practice buying, selling and saving in a controlled environment, as well as accessing quizzes to complement learning being delivered in-person by volunteers. RedSTART, which was established in 2012, named Sarah Marks as CEO in 2021 to drive forward a refined strategy which would equip the next generation with the tools needed to achieve financial security.

Marks said: “Research shows that financial habits are learned in early life, and so improving levels of financial literacy in the UK means giving children a strong head start. Change the Game seeks to do this in two ways, chiefly by focussing resources on primary-age children in areas identified by the Government as being most in need.

“Secondly, by educating the same children over the course of their time at primary school, the programme aims to develop skills made to last, while enabling us to build up concrete evidence on the impact of early, continuous intervention education on children’s financial understanding.”

Phase two will see RedSTART analyse and publish the findings from the longitudinal study, forecasting the potential consequences of inaction with support from Boston Consulting Group and Robeco, who will measure the impact of RedSTART’s work and therefore the funding received, against the relevant Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on the UN list of 17 SDGs.

RedSTART will use these findings to develop a blueprint for government to follow to improve the financial knowledge of 4.7 million children by 2030.

Marks continued: “Our ultimate aim is to no longer be needed and, if we can convince the Government to recognise the critical gap in educational provision and take on board our recommendations, then we will be well on course to achieving that objective.

“We strongly believe that a base understanding of debt, saving and investments needs to be planted in the primary generation to avoid financial illiteracy worsening around the UK. In partnership with our partners, schools and volunteers, we have every confidence that we can empower more children with this knowledge and enable them to take control of their money unhindered by the consequences of unhelpful spending patterns adopted from an early age.”

A total of 17 firms across the financial services sector have pledged to help RedSTART achieve the aims of Change the Game. A reception is being held at Legal & General’s offices at One Coleman Street, London on 29th September to bring together RedSTART’s partners to officially launch the research project and showcase the charity’s plans over the coming years.

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