Funding changes – a welcome shift
“Shifting away from the current decile and equity funding system is a welcome move,” said Clare Wells, Chief Executive New Zealand Kindergartens (NZK).
The current system in early childhood education (ECE) provides additional funding for services to remove barriers and better support children’s learning. “Equity funding is used in a range of ways including employing extra qualified teachers, providing transport, purchasing learning resources and improving learning spaces,” Clare Wells said.
A key factor in the current system is where children live, using data taken from the census every five years. “If there is a high proportion of children living in a low-socio economic community, the ECE services in that community would qualify to receive equity funding for each child attending that service – regardless of whether every child lives in a low-income household,” said Clare Wells. “The proposed new system focuses on the circumstances of each child, not the community they live in.”
“Funding through a new system has the potential to better support to each child who needs it by reducing disparities and improving learning outcomes,” Clare Wells said.
The equity funding system in ECE provides funding to services directly rather than ranking services or giving them a rating such is the case with school deciles. “The public is not generally aware whether an ECE service attracts equity funding or not, and services aren’t viewed on that basis,” said Clare Wells. “Receipt of equity funding isn’t a proxy for the quality of the ECE service.”
“The new system will focus attend on the quality of teaching and learning rather than on the rating of a service or school, which is a good thing,” Clare Wells said.
“We welcome the Minister’s assurance the new system will attract additional funding over and above the amount of current decile and equity funding,” said Clare Wells. “We look forward to working with the Minister and the Ministry of Education and our colleagues in the ECE and school sectors, to take the time to refine the new system and ensure it is fit for purpose.”