Decile system to be scrapped, Kaye reveals

One of the major factors behind the change was the government wanting to remove the “stigma” behind the decile system.


Prime Minister Bill English says the government’s decision to scrap the decile system will help shift the onus on to schoolS to demonstrate their educational achievement skills, rather than relying on decile funding.

His comments come after Education Minister Nikki Kaye revealed the government’s plan to replace the system with a targeted funding “risk index” initiative by 2019 or 2020.

Mr English agrees with Ms Kaye that the decile system has been less than perfect in New Zealand.

“The decile system has proven to be a blunt instrument for improving [educational] outcomes because it allocates resources on the basis of the characteristics of the school’s neighbourhood, not the characteristics of the kids attending the school.”

The new risk index will “encourage a stronger focus on what educational achievement schools can actually demonstrate, rather than relying on their decile rating to be under, or overestimated.”

The risk index will be completely anonymised, meaning the teachers, the schools and even the Ministry of Education won’t be able to identify the individual children and young people and how they’re assessed by the index.

This means schools will not know which of their students qualifies them for disadvantaged funding, Mr English says.

In terms of how the programme will be funded, Mr English says that will be dealt with in subsequent budgets.

EARLIER: Education Minister Nikki Kaye insists no school in the county will see a reduction in funding.

She says the system will be replaced by a “risk index” which, when implemented in 2019 or 2020, will mean better target funding for the schools that need it most.

One of the major factors behind the change was the government wanting to remove the “stigma” behind the decile system.

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

“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.”

She says the government will replace the equity index used to allocate disadvantage funding in early childhood education with the risk index.

Decile funding accounts for less than 3% of a school’s resources, according to government figures.

Rather than allocating this funding on the basis of neighbourhood characteristics as the decile system does, Ms Kaye says the risk index will instead provide fairer funding that better reflects the needs of children in schools.

“This will mean extra resources are better targeted to support schools to lift achievement.”

She says the change will benefit everyone.

“I’m pleased to be able to confirm that no school, early learning service or ngā kōhanga reo will see a reduction in their funding as a direct result of this change,”

National’s announcement comes just over a week after Labour revealed how it planned to spend the $4 billion it had earmarked for education over the next four years.

This included plans to rebuild all out-of-date and worn school buildings, turning them into modern classrooms by 2030 as well as spending $107 million on giving students access to educational mobile devices.

It also wants to abolish voluntary school donations by offering $150 extra per student to schools that don’t ask for donations – at a cost of $280 million over four years.

Ms Kaye says 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.

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