Review of equity and targeted funding in early learning

The Ministry of Education is reviewing existing forms of equity-focused funding in early learning in response to Action 2.1 of He taonga te tamaiti - Early Learning Action Plan(external link). The Ministry currently provides two forms of targeted funding to early learning services – Equity Funding and Targeted Funding for Disadvantage. The objectives of these funding streams are to increase children’s access to ECE as well as to improve the quality of the early learning they experience.

Purpose of the Review

The purpose of the Review is to ensure that equity-focused funding in early learning best supports children to benefit from access to high quality early learning experiences. The intention is to create a new targeting mechanism that more accurately reflects the socio-economic situation of children attending early learning services. The Review will focus on funding relating to socio-economic factors, namely Equity Funding Components A and B, and Targeted Funding for Disadvantage. Components C and D of Equity Funding are outside the scope of this Review.

This work is anticipated to use information within the Statistics New Zealand Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI). In this way, the Review links to similar work that has been undertaken in schooling to develop an Equity Index.

You can read more about the schooling Equity Index here(external link).

What is the focus of the Review?

In early learning, the Review will be focused on Equity Funding Components A and B and Targeted Funding for Disadvantage. The key areas of focus are:

  • the purpose of targeted funding
  • the design of a new Equity Index for early learning
  • the design of a funding mechanism, including accountability measures.


A Sector Reference Group has been convened to support this work. The Group includes representatives from peak bodies as well as those working in a variety of service types across the country.  You can read the Terms of Reference, which includes the list of members, for the Group at the link below:

Terms of Reference: Review of equity and targeted funding in early learning [PDF, 219 KB]

The Review will also include consultation with the wider sector on any proposed changes to equity-focused funding.

Background papers

Education Report: Redesign of targeted funding in ECE [PDF, 1.6 MB]

Education Report: Targeted Funding in ECE – Proposed Sector Reference Group members and ToR [PDF, 1 MB]

Briefing Note: Update on methodology for creating a new socio-economic index for early learning [PDF, 698 KB]

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