Few teachers feel comfortable discussing financial matters such as taxation and exchange rates, making it difficult for them to teach pupils to look after their money.
More than 1,000 teachers in 300 secondaries have taken part in the "Excellence amp; Access" scheme to teach pupils about personal finance and ministers want more schools to get involved.
But an evaluation by Brunel university of the first two years of the project concludes that its main stumbling-block has been a lack of confidence among teachers about money matters.
Less than a third of teachers felt confident talking about exchange rates, local and national taxation and financial institutions. Staff were happier discussing personal expenditure, such as credit cards. But more than 39 per cent claimed that they did not feel very confident discussing even these.
Excellence amp; Access is run by the Personal Finance Education Group with funding from leading banks and finance firms. The group plans to hold nine regional seminars for schools and government to explore what can be done to improve financial literacy.