Following the release of the latest decile ratings, Minister of Education Hekia Parata has confirmed her intentions to review the 25-year old decile system.
The Minister has described the current system as “well-intentioned but not very well targeted”.
“I agree with many in the sector who are recognising that we need to have a look at funding to make sure it is correctly targeting the students who need it most. That would need to be done alongside the profession and sector groups, in a well thought through and careful way,” she said.
NZEI Te Riu Roa president Judith Nowotarski welcomes the Minister’s decision to review how the system can be improved. She says the decile funding system provides much-needed equity funding to schools that have the biggest proportion of children from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, but she believes funding could be better targeted.
Her comments reflect an NZEI survey of principals, which showed that more than 80 percent of respondents supported an increase in targeted equity funding. More than 75 percent wanted to see a more finely grained decile system to reflect an even stronger link to socio-economic factors. Around 70 percent of principals supported improved funding to Maori and Pasifika learners and 98 percent wanted to see improved funding for learners with special needs.
The survey showed overwhelming opposition to any funding system linked to student results.
Nowotarski is mindful that no funding system is in itself a silver bullet.
"School funding alone cannot solve inequity and poverty. It needs to be seen in the context of economic and social policy that addresses low incomes, unaffordable housing and food insecurity."