Government to replace decile system with targeted funding

Education Minister Nikki Kaye has confirmed the Government will replace the decile system for schools with targeted funding to better support those students most at risk of not achieving.

“For too long schools have been stigmatised and wrongly judged by their decile number,” says Ms Kaye.

“Children and young people deserve to take pride in their school and we need to better target funding to where the need is greatest to support all children to achieve. Today I’m announcing that the Cabinet has agreed to replace the decile system with a Risk Index that allows us to better target funding to schools with children and young people most at risk of not achieving due to disadvantage.

“We will also be replacing the equity index used to allocate disadvantage funding in early childhood education with the Risk Index.”

Decile funding currently accounts for less than 3% of a school’s resources.

“Rather than allocating this funding on the basis of neighbourhood characteristics as the current decile system does, the Risk Index will instead provide fairer funding that better reflects the needs of children in our schools and services. This will mean extra resources are better targeted to support schools to lift achievement.”

The specific factors to be used in the index are subject to further analysis before being finalised. But, they will be the indicators which evidence suggests have the greatest influence on student achievement.

“I’m pleased to be able to confirm that no school, early learning service or kōhanga reo will see a reduction in their funding as a direct result of this change,” says Ms Kaye. “In fact, we expect some will gain significantly. This is the first major change to be announced as part of the Funding Review, and I would like to acknowledge the incredible work by my predecessor Honourable Hekia Parata who initiated this important piece of work.

“As part of the Review the Government has been working with education leaders, such as those in the Ministerial Advisory Group for the Funding Review and a Technical Reference Group, which have advocated for change and further funding for disadvantage. With any system, whether it’s with decile or the Risk Index it’s very important that children and young people’s privacy is protected at all times. The way the system is being designed it will not be possible to identify which children generate the additional funding.”

There will be further engagement before any changes are implemented, although it’s likely the new model of funding will take effect from 2019 or 2020.

Further work on other aspects of education funding is also ongoing. The Ministry of Education is due to report back later this year on the other parts of the Funding Review.