Funding Review proposals go to next stage

Between May and September 2016, the Ministry of Education organised almost 90 meetings with the education sector to discuss proposed changes to the way we fund our ECE services, our nga kohanga reo and our primary and secondary schools.

This process of extensive sector engagement reached a consensus that the current funding system was not doing enough to raise the achievement of all our children and young people, especially those most at risk of underachievement, that the current system was too complex to understand, and that the decile funding system was unfairly stigmatising many schools, regardless of their educational success.

These meetings, along with those held by an Advisory Group comprising sector representatives, agreed that it was appropriate to continue working on a number of proposals for change.

Following this feedback, the Minister of Education took a paper to Cabinet seeking agreement to progress a number of the proposed funding system changes to the next stage of further policy design and testing. These proposals are designed to:

  • Determine what’s needed to achieve, and then deliver, a year’s learning progress for all learners, in every year of their education
  • Look at funding each child in early childhood education, rather than the placed-based approach we have now
  • Explore the best ways to target funding for disadvantage to learners most at risk of underachievement. This will be based on a risk index which is calculated from government agencies’ data
  • Test better approaches for learning support to students with additional physical, intellectual, or behavioural learning needs
  • Define the criteria for small and isolated schools and early childhood services and considering the role Communities of Learning| Kāhui Ako can play in mitigating the impacts of size and isolation
  • Look into changing the arrangements for property maintenance and utilities, to give greater assurance that school property is appropriately maintained and to secure greater efficiencies in utilities expenditure
  • Strengthen the line of sight between the investment Government makes in education with the outcomes achieved by children and young people.

As a first step, a number of topic-specific technical reference groups will be established to support the more detailed design of these proposals. People on these groups will have expertise and experience in curriculum design and delivery and in the measurement of educational progress, as well as wider sector and educational expertise.

The groups include ones on:

  • Curriculum-based progress – to advise on what it takes for children and young people to achieve a year’s worth of progress across the curriculum and input in to the move to child based funding in early learning
  • Dealing with disadvantage – to input on the best ways to target funding for learners most at risk of underachievement
  • Small and Isolated – to test the approach to defining small and isolated early childhood services and schools, as well as how Communities of Learning| Kāhui Ako can mitigate the impacts of school size and isolation
  • Property – to input on how property maintenance funding could be more efficiently spent to meet the interests of students and staff.
  • Using data to improve outcomes: strengthening the line of sight between the investment the government makes in education with the outcomes achieved by children and young people.

To assist with the policy design and testing of these change proposals, the former Advisory Group on the review has been upgraded to a Ministerial Advisory Group. The Group will meet regularly with the Minister to discuss the work of the reference groups and the proposed new funding components.

In addition, work will be progressed by the Ministry to determine how best to fund schools and Communities of Learning|Kāhui Ako to support learners needing additional learning support, and to determine a new funding formula to support independent schools. The latter work will commence following the completion of the technical working groups.

The proposed changes aim to ensure that every child and young person is given the opportunity to make at least a year’s worth of progress against the curriculum. We want to ensure that the $11 billion per year being invested in education achieves maximum impact in raising achievement for all learners, and that our funding systems support diversity of choice for all parents and their kids via a variety of schooling options.

No decisions on any changes have been made and there will be further opportunity for sector and public involvement on the proposed changes before the implementation of any new funding components in 2020

Find out more about the next stage of our review of funding system.

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