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.
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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
- What you can use equity funding for
- When equity funding is paid
- Reporting requirements for equity funding
- Using equity funding through umbrella organisations
- Further information
How equity funding works
Equity funding is paid to the early learning service. There are four components to the funding.
- Funding for lower socio-economic communities
- Funding for special needs or for children from non-English speaking backgrounds
- Funding for languages and cultures other than English (including sign language)
- 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 [PDF, 278 KB].
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.
- Further information about applying for a review is available on the Education Counts website(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 [PDF, 244 KB] and return it to:
Ministry of Education
PO Box 1666, Wellington
This is paid as a fixed monthly grant which can be found on Appendix 1 [PDF, 278 KB].
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 [PDF, 278 KB].
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’).
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(external link).
You can read more about this work on Review of equity and targeted funding in early learning.
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