Education Funding System Review

The Review of Education Funding Systems has ended. In September 2019, Cabinet made an in-principle decision to replace school deciles with the Equity Index.

You can read the Cabinet paper here

Moving to a system-wide focus on equity

The Government is expanding previous work on replacing deciles to look more broadly at how education resources might better support equity in schools, ngā kōhanga reo and early childhood education services, especially for learners from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

The shift to an equity focus, means that the former Risk Index will be further developed as an Equity Index.

The Index can give valuable insights into the impact of disadvantage in early childhood education and schooling. For example, it shows that concentration of disadvantage matters for educational progress and achievement.

In addition, the Government has directed the Ministry of Education to use these insights to advise on how best to improve education settings and the targeting of resources for equity, in particular for students from disadvantaged backgrounds and/or with learning support needs.

Originally, the Index was to be used only for the 3% of total school funding that supports schools for disadvantage. Now, the government has asked the Ministry to explore its possible use across all education supports and resources, across schooling and early learning, to see if these can be better used to reduce disadvantage. For example, school staffing, or supports for student wellbeing, or educator professional learning and development, or the targeting of interventions.

The government will await the results of this work before making decisions on any new funding arrangements for schools and services to support improve equity. No decisions on any final funding arrangements will be made without consulting the sector, parents, whānau, school boards and communities.

The Equity Index

The Equity Index estimates the extent to which each child grows up in socio-economically disadvantaged circumstances that we know to be associated with their likelihood of achieving in education. 

The index looks at the full basket of factors in a child’s life, not just at single factors on their own, and it's not possible for the Ministry of Education, schools or services to know information on individual children.

The Index operates within Statistics New Zealand’s Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI). The Privacy Act 1993 and the Statistics Act 1975 ensure that information on individual children can't be disclosed from the IDI. As such, the Ministry of Education, schools and services won't be able see information about individual children.

These rules also ensure that it's not possible to infer the identity of individual children. For example, confidentiality rules restrict what can be disclosed from the IDI about schools with small rolls, or schools with very large numbers of children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

If the index is used to target resources to schools, this will be based on the general proportion of students in a school who come from a disadvantaged background. It will never be possible to “tag” resources to individual children.

The government has directed the Ministry to examine the potential to further refine the Index so that it can identify the impact of disadvantage on wellbeing in a broader sense, not just on achievement.

Funding Review work streams

The Government has decided that some parts of the previous Funding Review will continue in different ways, while others won't.

Work on utilities funding, and on separate funding for property maintenance, will carry on in the School Property Project.

Early learning per-child funding will now be considered in light of the Early Learning Strategic Plan.

The work on per-child funding in schools has been discontinued. Instead, school funding, including funding for smallness and isolation will be improved as opportunities arise. This decision also means that work to change the private school per-child subsidy has been ended.

Background documents for Funding Review

Education Funding System Review background documents
Education Funding System Review engagement reports and discussion papers

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