Urgent Response Fund

Responding to the impact of the COVID-19 lockdowns on children and young people

Schools, kura and early learning services me ngā kōhanga reo can now apply for funds to help address attendance issues, re-engagement in learning and wellbeing  for children and young people following the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Regional groups of leaders are working with the Director of Education, to identify priority needs in each region. These regional groups decide how the local allocation of the $50 million fund is best distributed, to make a difference to attendance and re-engagement in learning for children and young people.

Who’s eligible?

The fund is available to:

  • Licensed early learning services me ngā kōhanga reo: play centre, ngā puna reo, kindergarten, education & care services (including casual) and home-based early learning services (excluding au pair).
  • Schools and kura: state schools, state integrated schools, ngā kura kaupapa Māori, ngā Kura a Iwi, special schools.

Through this information, we will refer to the eligible organisations listed above as schools, kura and early learning services me ngā kōhanga reo.

How to apply

The URF is not available after 30 June 2021. Before making an application, we recommend you contact your local education office to determine the availability of funding in your region, and any local funding priorities or processing cut-offs. 

Click the link below to view contact details for local Ministry offices.

Local Ministry offices contact details

Schools, kura and early learning services me ngā kōhanga reo can apply by completing the form at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PT33R5W(external link)

Note that once you start an application, you cannot save it, so you will need to have all this information ready before you start:

  • Institution name and number, for every organisation covered by the application
  • Information about the need for the funding
  • Description of the support/response that you are asking to have funded
  • How many learners will be supported by the funding, including the number of Māori and Pacific learners supported
  • Information on the outcomes you intend to achieve from the URF
  • The amount of funding you are asking for
  • Scanned copies of supporting documentation e.g. invoices or quotes.

You may want to prepare this information offline first, and save a copy. When submitting your application, please ensure you receive the on screen confirmation message before closing the browser.

Purpose of the fund

Some learners experienced an increase in family tension during the COVID19 lockdowns, and many learners are stressed about their education, and the future of their families.

The Urgent Response Fund (URF) has been established to support children and young people who need extra help, especially in terms of attendance and their re-engagement with learning after the COVID-19 lockdowns.

The URF is available for one year from 1 July 2020.  All payments from the URF will be made by 30 June 2021 for immediate support for:

  • Attendance
  • Wellbeing to support attendance
  • Cultural wellbeing to support attendance
  • Re-engagement in learning

The aim is for a sustained improvement in attendance, to strengthen re-engagement with learning, and safeguard and promote wellbeing for individual or groups of children and young people.

The URF can be used for:

  • Support for clusters to work together to identify and respond to the changing needs of individual learners and groups of learners, to enable sustained improvements in attendance and re-engagement with learning
  • Additional teacher time or teacher release to directly support sustainable increases in children and young people’s attendance, re-engagement with learning, and wellbeing
  • Support that has a wellbeing focus targeting individuals, groups, a class, a whole school or kura or early learning service me ngā kōhanga reo, or a cluster
  • Resources or materials for improving children and young people’s wellbeing, including reducing stress, anxiety, depression and grief
  • Community support which is child-focused and can be delivered by the school or service, such as before or after school care
  • Additional support for learners with mild to moderate, to high and complex needs, including those who are neurodiverse and gifted
  • Catch-up access, small group tutoring
  • Mentors, counsellors, behaviour support workers
  • Professional advice (psychologists, counsellors etc.) on individual or whole of-class responses to children or young people’s needs
  • Additional teacher aide time

The URF cannot be used for:

  • Professional Learning and Development
  • Leadership support or staff wellbeing
  • Grants to support a shortfall in funding, or supporting ongoing activities of schools, kura and early learning services me ngā kōhanga reo that would be reasonably expected to be covered through existing funding.
  • Capital expenses, including maintenance and improvements for school or centre infrastructure
  • Support that the Ministry is supposed to provide
  • Additional ORS places
  • Responses that extend past 30 June 2021
  • Welfare, such as food or clothing
  • The cost of trips or excursions that were cancelled because of COVID-19
  • Support that is provided or funded by other government agencies
  • Payment of parent fees contribution to early learning services
  • Costs associated with cleaning
  • Devices, monitors and associated equipment.

The fund can be used for responses to attendance, re-engagement and related wellbeing needs for:

  • individual learners
  • a group or groups of learners
  • a class
  • an entire school, kura, early learning service, or kōhanga reo
  • a cluster of schools, kura and early learning services me ngā kōhanga reo.

Regional allocation

The URF fund is being allocated to regions using the Equity Index, to ensure an equitable funding approach that prioritises where the greatest needs are.

Education region

Total funding

Tai Tokerau






Bay of Plenty/Waiariki


Hawke's Bay/Tairawhiti






Nelson/Marlborough/West Coast


Canterbury/Chatham Islands






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