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Principals pleased with new funding structure

Wairarapa Principals are happy with the Ministry of Education’s [MoE] new, more targeted equity funding system for schools.
From January next year, the Equity Index [EQI] will replace the decile system, which has been used for 30 years to determine a school’s level of equity funding.
Minister of Education Chris Hipkins told the Times-Age that the extra funding would give money to the schools with the highest concentration of students with additional needs.
“In Wairarapa, I think pretty much all schools will receive extra funding under the new system.”
In the current system, MoE divides schools into 10 deciles based on their area’s wealth.
Schools in deprived areas receive lower decile ratings, so they get more funding.
The new model aims to smooth out the differences in funding with more targeted rates based on actual student data.
Previously a school could lose or gain significant funding per student if it moved between deciles due to the staggering of the financing across the ten deciles.
The new system would have 226 funding rates along a smooth curve, and MoE would calculate it annually using anonymised student-level information about the children attending a school.
This method differs from the decile system, which is calculated after each new census using data from the school’s area, not from the school’s students.
Masterton Intermediate School principal Russell Thompson said it would be helpful if MoE shared the data they gathered with schools to determine a school’s equity index.
“That way, we could be more aware of some of our students and whanau who may need additional support,” Thompson said.
Kuranui College principal Simon Fuller said, “the decile system was a blunt measure; the hope is that this funding is more targeted.”
Hipkins said that extra funding would ensure all schools are better off, at least in the first year.
“Because of the extra equity funding in this year’s budget, no school will lose funding under the new system in 2023, and from 2024 if schools are going to lose funding, we will cap it at 5 per cent a year,” Hipkins said.
Principals are pleased that the new system will lessen the stigma that one school is better than another because it has a lower decile rating.
Richard Goodyear, principal of Pirinoa School, said, “I get the impression it [EQI] will break down the barrier of people assuming things about the school based on its decile, which is a good thing.”
MoE said neither deciles nor the EQI measures a school’s quality.
“They are ways for us to understand the relationship between socioeconomic circumstances and student achievement,” MoE said.

Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age who regularly writes about education. He is originally from Wellington and is interested in environmental issues and public transport.

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