School deciles

How deciles are applied to schools, what funding they determine, and where to find schools’ deciles.

School deciles indicate the extent the school draws their students from low socio-economic communities.

We use deciles to target funding, for state and state-integrated schools, to help them overcome any barriers to learning that students from lower socio-economic communities might face.

The lower the school’s decile, the more funding it receives.

About deciles

What deciles measure

Deciles are a measure of the socio-economic position of a school’s student community relative to other schools throughout the country.

For example, decile 1 schools are the 10% of schools with the highest proportion of students from low socio-economic communities, whereas decile 10 schools are the 10% of schools with the lowest proportion of these students.

A school's decile does not indicate the overall socio-economic mix of the school or reflect the quality of education the school provides.

Deciles are used to provide funding to state and state-integrated schools to enable them to overcome the barriers to learning faced by students from lower socio-economic communities. The lower the school’s decile, the more funding they receive.

When deciles are calculated

We recalculate deciles for all schools every 5 years following the Census of Population and Dwellings.

Socio-economic indicators for decile ratings

Deciles are based on 5 socio-economic indicators for a community.

  • Percentage of households with income in the lowest 20% nationally.
  • Percentage of employed parents in the lowest skill level occupational groups.
  • Household crowding.
  • Percentage of parents with no educational qualifications.
  • Percentage of parents receiving income support benefits.

Go to stage 3 of how deciles are calculated for more information about the 5 indicators.

Why neighbouring schools might have different deciles

We base a school’s decile on the small Census areas where its students live, not on the general area of the school. These small areas are called meshblocks.

Neighbouring schools might draw students from different meshblocks, resulting in different deciles.

The size of a school’s catchment area also affects the decile. For example, secondary schools have much larger catchment areas than primary schools.

When deciles might change

Deciles might change when we recalculate them in the year following the Census.

A decile can also change if schools apply for a decile review.

Go to decile reviews to find out more.

Which funding deciles determine

Deciles determine some operational funding and a range of resource funding.

Operational funding

Within a school’s operational funding, deciles determine the allocation of:

  • Targeted Funding for Educational Achievement 
  • the Special Education Grant 
  • the Careers Information Grant.

Resources

Ministry of Education resources determined by a school’s decile include:

  • Kura Kaupapa Māori transport (deciles 1 to 10)
  • Priority Teacher Supply Allowance (deciles 1 to 2)
  • National Relocation Grant (deciles 1 to 4)
  • Decile Discretionary Funding for Principals (deciles 1 to 4)
  • Resource Teachers of Learning and Behaviour (RTLBs) Learning Support Funding (deciles 1 to 10)
  • RTLBs for years 11 to 13 (deciles 1 to 10)
  • School Property Financial Assistance scheme (deciles 1 to 10)
  • Study Support Centres (deciles 1 to 3)
  • Social Workers in Schools (deciles 1 to 5)
  • District Truancy Service (deciles 1 to 10).

How deciles are calculated

The decile calculation process has 7 stages as follows.

Stage 1

Schools supply their student addresses to the Ministry. We use the addresses to determine the areas from which each school is drawing its students.

Stage 2

We assign student addresses to the smallest Census areas called meshblocks (a meshblock contains around 50 households). Then we calculate the number and percentage of students from each meshblock.

Note: Statistics New Zealand gives us confidential access to Census data, and we only use it to calculate decile ratings. The Ministry cannot identify individuals from Census data relating to decile calculations. We extract information from each meshblock, but only from households with school-aged children.

Stage 3

We examine each meshblock against 5 socio-economic indicators and equally weight them in the calculations.

  • Household income — the percentage of households with equivalent income in the lowest 20%, nationally adjusted for the number of adults and children in the household and the age of the children. Households with a member who is unemployed or households supported by a benefit are not usually included in this group.
  • Occupation — the percentage of employed parents in occupations that are at skill levels 4 or 5 according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO). These occupations include all labourers, all machine operators and assemblers, and others who work in occupations at these lower skill levels regardless of the sector, type, or profession involved.
  • Household crowding — the percentage of households with an equivalised crowding index greater than one. This index measures the proportion of household members per bedroom adjusted for the presence of children under 10, every 2 of whom are assigned to share a bedroom. Couples and others are each assigned their own bedroom.
  • Educational qualification — the percentage of parents with no tertiary or school qualifications.
  • Income support — the percentage of parents who directly (not as a partner) received Jobseeker Support, Sole Parent Support, or Supported Living Payments (previously known as the Domestic Purposes Benefit, Unemployment Benefit, and Sickness and Invalid’s Benefit) in the previous year.

Stage 4

The 5 indicators are weighted by the number of students from each meshblock. This means that meshblocks where only a few of a school’s students live will have little effect on its decile, while those having more will have a greater effect.

Stage 5

We rank the schools in relation to every other school for each of the 5 indicators and give them a score based on their percentile.

Stage 6

We add the 5 indicator scores for each school together (without any weightings) to get a total. This total gives the overall standing of the school in relation to all other schools in the country.

Stage 7

We divide schools into 10 groups called deciles, based on the total score calculated in stage 6. Each decile group has approximately the same number of schools.

We sub-divide deciles 1 to 4 into 3 funding steps (1a, 1b, 1c, and so on) and then allocate about a third of schools to each funding step within the decile.

Find a school’s decile

School deciles 2015 [XLS, 1.2 MB] for the ratings and targeted funding for educational achievement (TFEA) steps for state and state-integrated schools.

New Zealand Schools lists current decile ratings and contact details for schools in Excel and CSV format.

Calculate per-pupil funding for deciles

The per-student funding rates for each decile are found under Operational funding rates for 2014 and 2015.

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