How to apply for ESOL funding

Funding due dates for 2018

Applications for terms 1 and 2 are due by 1 March 2018

Applications for terms 3 and 4 are due by 1 August 2018

Process for existing ESOL-funded students

When your school’s ESOL funding is paid (near the end of terms 1 and 3 each year), we send you a status list of all your ESOL-funded students.

Before the next application due date, you need to:

  • repeat the assessment process for each ESOL-funded student and update their ELLP record of progress to confirm whether they are still eligible for funding
  • enter each student’s new assessment scores and the date of the assessment on the status list.

Please use the codes below to note on the status list any students who have:

Reason for ceasing a studentCode
Left your school L
Left New Zealand N
Completed their funding entitlement (20 terms for migrant and
refugee background students, or 12 terms for New Zealand-born students)
Scored above the threshold for funding E
Had more than 4 years schooling in New Zealand (if New Zealand-born) 4+
Other - please state e.g. fee-paying student O

Email the updated status list, along with any applications for new ESOL funding, to

Process for new students

Step 1

Complete the ELLP record of progress and matrices for each new migrant, refugee background or New Zealand-born English language learner. Word version: ELLP record of progress [DOCX, 103 KB]Google doc version: ELLP record of progress (external link) .  

Go to Guidance in using the English Language learning Progressions matrices (external link)  from the ELLP professional support modules on TKI.  

The record of progress is usually completed by:

  • in a primary or intermediate school, the student’s class teacher in consultation with the ESOL teacher or others who support the student
  • in a secondary school, the ESOL specialist teacher, in collaboration with the student’s curriculum teachers.

Keep the completed record of progress form and matrices with the student’s other records. Do not send it to the Ministry with your application.

Please make sure you include each student’s NSN (national student number). This will link to the ESOL database and pick up their record from previous schools if applicable.

For migrant students, please also record evidence of their date of entry to New Zealand.

For refugee background students, you need proof of their refugee status.

  • For quota refugees, include a letter from AUT Mangere’s Centre for Refugee Education identifying them as being part of the government’s official refugee programme and a letter from the New Zealand Immigration Service – Quota Branch.
  • For family reunification refugees, include their sponsor’s letter from the New Zealand Immigration Service showing their refugee status. 
  • Asylum seeker refugees are considered individually. If you have questions, please contact:

    Abdizirak Abdi, Lead Advisor, Migrant and Refugee Education,
    Ministry of Education, Private Bag 92644, Mt Eden, Auckland 1150
    Phone +64 7 858 7148

For New Zealand-born students you must have evidence that at least one parent is an immigrant or refugee.

If the student scores below the threshold on the ELLP record of progress and you have the required proof of their status, you can apply for ESOL funding.

Step 2

Complete one of the ESOL application forms (you can list more than one student on each form):

Use the standard names for country of birth, ethnicity and first language [DOC, 199 KB]. [ESOL download List of countries.doc]

Email your completed applications (along with your status list) to

Receiving funding

About 4 weeks after applications close, we will let your school know its ESOL funding allocation and send a list of funded students.

Your school will receive ESOL funding every 6 months, near the end of term 1 (for terms 1 and 2) and term 3 (for terms 3 and 4).


Your school must update each ESOL-funded student’s record of progress at least every 6 months.

Keep all the records relating to a student’s ESOL funding and assessments, as these may be needed for verification by the Ministry of Education. If an ESOL-funded student leaves your school, please make sure all these records go with their file to the new school.

About every 3 years, an ESOL verifier will visit or phone your school to discuss:

  • how you identify eligible students and assess their learning needs
  • the support programmes your school provides
  • the assessment records that support the funding application.

They will also help you with information about ESOL resources and training available.

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