As an educational charity, one of the objectives of the ATT is to advance public education in tax. While tax is something that affects us all at some point, it does not generally feature in the classroom, with the decision over whether or not to include tax in the curriculum left to individual schools. Even if it is covered, teachers may not always feel confident in tackling tax as a subject.
One of the ways that this can be addressed is by encouraging teachers to use material produced by HMRC to introduce the topic of tax into schools. In furtherance of our charitable objectives, ATT is encouraging members to support teachers at their local school by going into the classroom and using their knowledge and experience of tax to bring HMRC's materials to life.
HMRC's Junior Tax Facts
HMRC has prepared a pack called Junior Tax Facts to help to introduce children to the subject of taxation. Designed for primary school children aged eight to eleven, the topics covered include who pays tax and what the money is used for.
Junior Tax Facts can be used to support a number of aspects of the primary school curriculum and the exercises include elements of maths, history, art and design and also citizenship.
The pack is available on the Times Educational Supplement website. To access the pack, it is necessary to create a (free) login. Once logged on, there is also further HMRC material designed for older children.
There is also a short video (available on YouTube) which is an excellent way to set the scene for the class at the start of the lesson.
HMRC materials in action - ATT Lesson plans
Two of our Technical Officers have taken HMRC's Junior Tax Facts into their local primary schools and the lesson plans that they used can be found below.
A report from 2019 of the experience of going back into the classroom is available on AccountingWEB.
If members have taken part in similar exercises and have ideas or lesson plans that they would like to share, please let us know and we would be delighted to include them here.
Lesson plan one – If you are able to bring food into the classroom, this plan starts with the HMRC video and exercises, before engaging the children with the subject of VAT with a taste test to address the classic question of whether a Jaffa cake is a cake or a biscuit.
Lesson plan two – Also based on HMRC’s materials, this plan takes the children through what taxes pay for, tax and spending priorities and how much tax we should pay, before extending into the role of the tax profession and some tax history.
The ATT has recorded the following videos which can be used in schools.
What is Tax
What does your Payslip mean?
Different types of working
The wonderful world of VAT
Schools are required to meet strict safeguarding obligations and any member looking to help support a lesson on tax should confirm with the school what their precise requirements are.
In general, as long as a volunteer for a one-off event is never left unsupervised with the children no DBS check is required, but it is essential to confirm the school's approach.
Other practical matters to consider before a school visit might include:
- Confirming it is practically possible to show the video to the class - in addition to having the relevant equipment, confirm that YouTube is accessible from behind any firewall.
- If you are planning to bring in any food, check whether there are any allergies or health conditions that should be considered.