Schools welcome increase in funding under NZ's new equity index system

Schools have been told just how much funding they'll receive when the country's education system moves to a new equity index next year.

It replaces the outdated and often stigmatising decile system and while it's mostly been well received, hundreds of schools will lose funding under the new model.

Porirua's Natone Park School at the moment sits at decile one - a measure its principal said is being used for something it wasn't designed for.

"What it became was a stigma attached to schools suggesting that because you were low decile you delivered a lower quality education for kids, which was absolutely untrue," principal Daryl Aim said.

But that's all about to change.

From next year, schools will move to an equity index model when it comes to funding. It is a more accurate system that uses 37 socioeconomic measures known to impact education outcomes.

"It helps us to make sure that we're really providing extra support to the learners that need the extra support the most," Education Minister Chris Hipkins said.

The Government announced a $75 million boost for the funding in Budget 2022. 

And that's just been divvied up amongst schools, with almost 90 percent getting a funding bump, including at Natone Park School.

"Any funding is going to be very welcome to any school, we pour our money back into the kids and the education we provide for them," Aim said.

Good news for Northland schools too, receiving an extra $223 per student.

"We needed something like this to happen and we're always boohoo-ed usually by previous governments, and it's damn good that this one's put its money where its mouth is," Hora Hora School principal Pat Newman said. 

But while more than 2000 schools look forward to an increase in funding, 269 won't, with 20 schools losing more than 10 percent of their funding. 

"We've ultimately increased the amount of equity funding going in by over 50 percent so there's more equity funding going in and that's why the number of schools are actually seeing a reduction is very low. It would've been much higher if we didn't put more funding in," Hipkins said.

"They've got a year to work how they manage that but it's not good news for everyone," NZ Principals Federation Cherie Taylor-Patel said.

 A fraction of schools left to figure out how to cut costs.