Blam! Dennis the Menace and Roger the Dodger to teach British pupils about money

Dennis the Menace and the Bash Street Kids could soon be teaching primary children how to manage their pocket money, thanks to an educational tie-up involving the Bank of England and Beano comics.

A 12-lesson course on financial literacy, called Money and Me, will be introduced to English, Scottish and Welsh school curriculums from July, teaching children between the ages of five and 11 the basics of money and how the economy works.

The lessons, a collaboration between the Beano, the Bank and Tes – formerly known as the Times Educational Supplement – will be included in the PSHE (personal, social, health and economic) curriculums.

“Financial literacy is essential for everyone,” said Andrew Bailey, governor of the Bank of England. “The Bank’s education programme is central to our role in equipping the public with sufficient financial and economic knowledge for their daily lives.

He said the Money and Me programme “will support teachers in giving young people a strong sense of the importance of economic and financial decisions from an early age”.

Andrew Bailey, governor of the Bank of England: ‘The Bank’s education programme is central to our role in equipping the public with sufficient financial and economic knowledge.’ Photograph: Reuters

The Bank of England did not say how Beano characters such as Minnie the Minx and Roger the Dodger might be used to teach children about interest rates and inflation, but the Beano for Schools website offers a glimpse into how the course will look.

Its PHSE curriculum resources already include instruction from Bananaman on being brave and resilient and a course called “Understanding our emotions” fronted by Dennis the Menace.

The site has begun advertising “financial literacy lessons with the Beano gang” to schoolteachers on a page that also features a cartoon mock-up of the Bank of England’s headquarters on London’s Threadneedle Street, where it has stood since 1734.

“Beano has been engaging children for more than 80 years, and we love bringing that experience to the classroom,” said Beano Studios’ chief executive, Emma Scott.

“Our Beano for Schools programme translates complex topics into entertaining and engaging content for both kids and teachers and we’ve had fun producing these unique financial literacy lessons so kids can enjoy learning about money and gain necessary life skills.”

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The programme’s introduction to the curriculum comes after years of concern about a lack of personal finance teaching in schools.

A 2017 study, The Ticking Time Bomb of Generational Debt, found young people were under pressure to rack up debt to buy gadgets and appear rich. The same study found that efforts to teach children about managing money had stalled, with many schools side-stepping changes to the national curriculum, made in 2014, to include financial education.

In 2018, the Bank launched a resource for secondary school children called econoME, which it said has been downloaded by nearly 2000 schools.

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