Equity funding

See information about the types, rates, and eligibility criteria for equity funding for early learning services. Equity funding aims to raise educational achievement regardless of people's cultural background, socio-economic status or location.

Level of compliance Main audience Other


  • All early learning services
  • Service managers
  • Educators, teachers and kaiako
  • Parents, caregivers and whānau

Early learning services can choose to access equity funding if they are eligible. All licensed services can apply for equity funding. When this funding is accessed, services must then adhere to a set of requirements.

How equity funding works

Equity funding is paid to the early learning service. There are 4 components to the funding.

  1. Funding for lower socio-economic communities.
  2. Funding for special needs or for children from non-English speaking backgrounds.
  3. Funding for languages and cultures other than English (including sign language).
  4. Funding for isolation.

Funding for A and B – Lower socio-economic communities, special needs and non-English speaking backgrounds

This funding uses the Equity Index value. This value is calculated according to the addresses of the children at your ECE service. The addresses are used to indicate the children’s socio-economic background.

The amount of the funding is set by your Equity Index and the Funded Child Hours that you claim through the RS7 return. The funding will not be more than the maximum of six hours per child place per day, with a limit of 30 hours per child place over seven days.

The funding increases according to the Equity Index. The funding rates can be found on Appendix 1.

Appendix 1

Equity calculations are conducted twice a year, around March and November. Specific dates will be advertised closer to the appropriate times.

How can I apply for an Equity Index?

If you are a new service, you will be contacted by the Ministry to be included in the next assessment round.

What if I am unhappy with my service’s Equity Index?

If you have an Equity Index of 2, 3, 4 or 5+, you can apply for a review.

You will need to show either that your community has changed significantly since your last Equity Index assessment or that the make-up of children in your early learning service or your catchment area has changed.

More information about applying for a review is available on the Education Counts website.

Equity index assessment – Education Counts(external link)

Funding for C – Languages and cultures other than English (including sign language)

Where a service provides early childhood education in a language and culture other than English, they may be eligible for this component of equity funding. Complete the EC15 Language and Culture attestation form.

EC15 Language and Culture attestation form [PDF, 244 KB]

Return it to:

Resourcing Division
Ministry of Education
PO Box 1666, Wellington

This is paid as a fixed monthly grant which can be found on Appendix 1.

Appendix 1

Funding for D – Isolation

This funding is calculated according to your Isolation Index. This index is set automatically, based on your location. You will be notified whether you are eligible a couple of months after opening.

Funding is paid by a fixed monthly grant. The grant increases according to the degree of isolation – the more isolated your service, the higher the funding.

The payment bands can be found on Appendix 1.

Appendix 1

What you can use equity funding for

How you spend your funding depends on your component (A, B, C or D in ‘How equity funding works’).

How equity funding works

When equity funding is paid

The funding is paid at the same time as the early childhood education bulk funding subsidy (that is, March, July and November).

Reporting requirements for equity funding

You must report how you are using the equity funding to parents and the community. It is up to you how you report this, but you must at least include the following information in your annual report.

  • An outline of the amount of equity funding under each component.
  • A description of what the funding was used for.
  • An outline of why the funding was spent the way it was.

Your report may be reviewed by the Ministry of Education and the Education Review Office (ERO).

Using equity funding through umbrella organisations

You can combine your funding with other early learning services if you are grouped under an umbrella organisation like the Playcentre Association. This might let you address equity issues in your wider community.

Umbrella organisations can do this only if each of the individual services agree.

Review of equity and targeted funding in early learning

Equity Funding components A and B are currently being reviewed by the Ministry in response to Action 2.1 of He taonga te tamaiti - Early Learning Action Plan.

He taonga te tamaiti - Early Learning Action Plan(external link)

Review of equity and targeted funding in early learning

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