Government plans to replace the school decile funding system have been put on hold while more work is done to ensure all pupils get the support they need to learn.
The former National government planned to introduce a ”risk index” which would target funding to schools based on individual pupils’ risk of underachieving.
It was designed to replace the decile funding system, which allocates funds to schools based on the affluence of their catchment area.
Education Minister Chris Hipkins said the education sector would stick with decile funding for the time being, to ensure any new education funding system successfully addressed the impact of socio-economic disadvantage on pupils, and reduced the disparities between those from disadvantaged circumstances and other children.
”This doesn’t mean that Government won’t replace the decile funding system in future.
”But we will do so only when we are satisfied that any alternative will ensure greater success for our most disadvantaged learners, and is fundable and workable.”
Mr Hipkins said the risk index could ”potentially” be applied to a wider range of resources – including school staffing or supports for pupil wellbeing – to see if these resources could be more effective in reducing disadvantage.
”Originally, the index was only going to be used for the 3% of total school funding that supports them for disadvantage.
”But we want to use the index to look at all education supports and resources, across schooling and early learning, to see if they can be better used to reduce disadvantage.”
New Zealand Principals’ Federation president and Bathgate Park School principal Whetu Cormick said the decile system was not working for all schools, but he was not critical of the ministry’s decision.
”I think work needs to be done on this index and it may end up being used to help bolster other areas of our operations.
”We know low-decile schools have challenging environments where young people present different challenges to high-decile schools, and what this Government is interested in is equity – to ensure money and human resourcing gets to the kids who need it most.
”We would welcome a funding system that will strengthen our education system going forward.
”Whatever comes in the future, we know we need more money and we need more staff…”
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