The Ministry of Education has begun informing schools of the latest recalculation of school decile ratings, with all schools expected to know their new decile by 20th November.
Approximately one-third of schools have moved to a lower decile rating, one-third have moved up, and one-third have remained the same. The last time deciles were reviewed was after Census 2006.
The government has introduced an 18 month transition period for schools moving to a higher decile and consequently facing a reduction in funding. Schools that move to a lower decile rating will have an increase in funding, with increases taking effect in January 2015.
Ministry’s Deputy Secretary for student achievement Dr Graham Stoop, says they want to make sure funding goes to support those students who need it most.
“We want to make sure decile-linked funding goes to those schools who need it most. We update decile ratings after each census to ensure they accurately reflect the latest information on school communities. This is about fairness.”
However, Minister of Education Hekia Parata has signalled that the current decile funding system is “well-intentioned, but a blunt instrument” and due to be replaced. Despite some suggestion at replacing deciles with an outcomes-based system there has been no confirmation from the Ministry on what shape a funding overhaul will take.
Dr Stoop says any school is entitled to seek a review of its decile rating if it believes the rating doesn’t accurately reflect the socio-economic circumstances of its students.
The decile rating is a measure of the school community’s socio-economic position relative to other school communities.