Equity funding for early learning services

Removing barriers through equity funding

Equity funding provides additional targeted funding to make early learning opportunities equally available to everyone. It also helps services to raise educational achievement regardless of people's cultural background, socio-economic status or location.

All licensed ECE services and kōhanga reo can apply for equity funding.

How equity funding works

Equity funding is paid to the early learning service. There are 4 components to the funding.

  1. Funding for lower socio-economic communities
  2. Funding for special needs or for children from non-English speaking backgrounds
  3. Funding for languages and cultures other than English (including sign language)
  4. Funding for isolation

Funding for A and B – lower socio-economic communities, special needs and non-English speaking backgrounds

This funding uses the Equity Index value. This value is calculated according to the addresses of the children at your ECE service. The addresses are used to indicate the children’s socio-economic background.

The amount of the funding is set by your Equity Index and the Funded Child Hours that you claim through the RS7 return. The funding won’t be more than the maximum of 6 hours per child place per day, with a limit of 30 hours per child place over 7 days.

The funding increases according to the Equity Index. These are the funding rates.

Equity IndexLower socio-economic rate per Funding Child HoursSpecial needs and non-English speaking backgrounds rate per Funding Child Hours
1 $0.97 $0.47
2 $0.77 $0.30
3 $0.42 $0.21
4 $0.21 $0.19

How to apply for an Equity Index

If you are a new service, you will be contacted by the Ministry to be included in the next assessment round.

If you’re not happy with your Equity Index

If you have an Equity Index of 2, 3, 4 or 5+, you can apply for a review. You will need to show either that your community has changed significantly since your last Equity Index assessment or that the make-up of children in your ECE service or your catchment area has changed.

Equity calculations are conducted twice a year, around March and November. Specific dates will be advertised closer to the appropriate times.

Information about applying for a review is available on the Education Counts website(external link).

Funding for C – languages and cultures other than English (including sign language)

Where a service provides early childhood education in a language and culture other than English, they may be eligible for this component of equity funding. Complete the EC15 Language and Culture Attestation Form [PDF, 150 KB] and return it to:

Resourcing Division
Ministry of Education
PO Box 1666, Wellington

This is paid as a fixed monthly grant. It is $4,929.72 per year (or $410.81 per month).

Funding for D – isolation

This funding is calculated according to your Isolation Index. This index is set automatically, based on your location. You’ll be notified whether you are eligible a couple of months after opening.

Funding is paid by a fixed monthly grant. The grant increases according to the degree of isolation – the more isolated your service, the higher the funding.

These are the payment bands.

Isolation Index bandMonthly amount
2.54 and higher $290.45
1.84–2.53 $150.52
1.65–1.83 $99.95

What you can use equity funding for

How you spend your funding depends on your component (A, B, C or D in ‘How equity funding works’). See the ECE Funding Handbook for suggestions about how to spend your equity funding.

When equity funding is paid

The funding is paid at the same time as the early childhood education bulk funding subsidy (that is, March, July and November).

Reporting requirements for equity funding

You must report how you are using the equity funding to parents and the community. It’s up to you how you report this, but you must at least include the following information in your annual report.

  • An outline of the amount of equity funding under each component.
  • A description of what the funding was used for.
  • An outline of why the funding was spent the way it was.

Your report may be reviewed by the Ministry of Education and the Education Review Office (ERO).

Using equity funding through umbrella organisations

You can combine your funding with other early learning services if you are grouped under an umbrella organisation like the Playcentre Association. This might let you address equity issues in your wider community.

Umbrella organisations can do this only if each of the individual services agree.

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