Be economical with the yoof

21st January 2005 at 00:00
Call me a sad git in a cardigan, but I'm grumpy about something. No, not the weather. It is the appalling lack of economics teaching these days.

Even most secondary schools seem to have abandoned it in favour of its tawdry cousin, "business studies".

Am I mad in thinking it ought to feature in primary education? Am I alone in feeling it has more relevance than some of the other content we trot into key stage 2?

I recall the launch of the most recent Harry Potter book. One Year 5 child pointed out that, in one particular shop, the book was cheaper than in any other. I asked him why that would be the case - why would one bookseller set a lower price than another?

As he and his mates joined in trying to explain this phenomenon, we entered into a discussion of supply-and-demand economics. Kids are fascinated by this. Anyone who has escorted children spending pocket money around the shops will know what canny financiers they can be.

They are fascinated, provided the subject is taught with the liveliness it can spark off. That is why it is great to see the Bank of England taking a daring step in launching a video and study pack for nine to 11-year-olds.

In the video, a couple of trendy kids of the "television yoof"-type explore the history of money, the way prices work and even (oh bliss) the Bank of England's role in controlling inflation through the use of interest rates.

OK, I can see we are sadly not going to have a national curriculum for economics in the near future, but with its calculation of interest this pack can feed into maths and, with its explanation of prices, it will stimulate literacy.

And alongside the cross-curricular links, the video and materials are also well worth a few half-hour basic economics lessons in their own right - cardigans not required.

Do you agree? Write to

The Bank of England's Pounds and Pence can be obtained from EdComs. Tel: 0870 2425572 or email

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