Decile funding

Issue: Volume 93, Number 21

Posted: 24 November 2014
Reference #: 1H9csF

As with previous decile recalculations, around a third of schools will stay the same while a third will increase decile and a third will go down.

The current decile system was introduced in the mid-1990s as a way to target funding to schools with the most students from low socio economic circumstances.

It is calculated by using Census data and student address information provided by schools.

The Ministry then applies five indicators of socio-economic status for a community:

  • Percentage of households with income in the lowest 20 percent nationally.
  • Percentage of employed parents in lowest occupational groups
  • Household crowding.
  • Percentage of parents with no educational qualifications.
  • Percentage of parents receiving income support benefits.

These are equally weighted in the calculations. Schools are ranked nationally into 10 deciles, with about 10 per cent of schools in each decile. Deciles are therefore a relative, rather than an absolute, measure of the socio-economic circumstances of its students.

“Decile funding is essentially about fairness. We want to ensure extra funding goes to support those students who need it most,” says Dr Graham Stoop, Deputy Secretary for Student Achievement at the Ministry of Education.

“Essentially the decile system is a way to make sure that those schools that have a higher proportion of students who face barriers to learning due to their socio-economic circumstances, have extra funding to help support the children and the communities they come from.”

Because 10 per cent of schools fall into each decile, if a school loses funding when its decile changes, another school that has a greater percentage of its students from disadvantaged communities gains funding.

“Both the Minister and the Ministry of Education acknowledge that decile funding is not perfect when it comes to allocating funding for students in need of extra support.

“Consequently we know that some schools may feel the decile rating doesn’t accurately reflect its students or community, which is why they can seek a review of their new decile rating if it believes the rating doesn’t accurately reflect its situation.”

The Ministry has also allowed time for schools whose decile has increased to adjust to lower funding levels.

“Schools that move to a lower decile rating will have an increase in funding, while those going to a higher decile rating will have a reduction in funding over 18 months.

“For most schools, the changes in funding will be a small percentage of their operational grant. But we recognise that any reduction in funding will be an adjustment, which is why this time the government has introduced an 18 month transition period for any schools with a reduction in funding. Increases in funding will, however, take effect much sooner, in January 2015.

“We will be working closely with schools to give them any support they need to adjust to changes. It’s important to remember a school’s decile rating does not reflect the quality of education a school provides. The quality of teaching and leadership at a school are the most important in-school factors in lifting student achievement,” says Dr Stoop.

Three components of schools’ operational grant funding depend on decile ratings: Targeted Funding for Educational Achievement, the Special Education Grant, and the Careers Information Grant.

Other funding that may change as a result of a change in decile, but is not subject to transitional funding, includes:

  • Funding for transport for kura (any kura that move from deciles 1-4 to deciles 5-10 will have transport funding reduced).
  • A component of principals’ salaries (though in accordance with collective agreements there is a two year delay before any drop in salary occurs).

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 12:51 pm, 24 November 2014

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