ESOL funding

Your school may have students from migrant and refugee families. These students often need extra help in learning English to the level they need for their education. We provide ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) funding so schools can offer extra English language learning support for eligible students who are learning English as a second language.

Applying for funding

There are 2 funding rounds a year (apply by 1 March or 1 August).

How to apply for ESOL funding 

Ways your school can use ESOL funding

ESOL funding criteria

ESOL funding is targeted at students with the highest English language learning needs. The need for ESOL funding is assessed using the English Language Learning Progressions (ELLP).

The scoring system is based on matrices that record each English language learner’s (ELL’s) achievement level in listening, speaking, reading and writing.

Students whose scores are below the ELLP benchmarks will qualify for funding if they're:

  1. migrants to New Zealand
  2. from a refugee background
  3. New Zealand-born students, with at least 1 parent of migrant or refugee background.

New Zealand born students are eligible if at least 1 of their parents is a migrant to New Zealand and a language other than English is usually spoken in the home. You can apply for ESOL funding after a New Zealand-born student has been at school for at least 2 terms as that will allow time to identify their specific needs.

Who doesn’t qualify

  • Adult students.
  • International fee paying students.
  • New Zealand-born students who have had 4 years in a New Zealand school.
  • Year 0/1 New Zealand-born students aren't eligible for ESOL funding until they've completed at least 2 terms at school.
  • Students whose first language is identified as English or te reo Māori.

ESOL funding amounts

The ESOL funding allows more intensive support for ELLs in their first years at New Zealand schools.

We provide higher funding for ELLs at secondary school as they need to learn English to function across a wider curriculum with higher language demands.

All funding amounts shown are GST exclusive.

ESOL funding for schools

Primary and intermediate students: $700 per year
Secondary students: $900 per year

Migrant and refugee background students are entitled to ESOL funding for up to 5 years (20 terms). 

New Zealand-born students (of migrant or refugee parents) are eligible in Years 0-4, for up to 3 years (12 terms).

Students from refugee backgrounds

The Refugee Flexible Funding Pool offers schools additional resources to address broader issues that may prevent refugee background students from participating and achieving in mainstream schooling.

Contact your nearest Senior Advisers for Refugee and Migrant Support for more information about this funding.

Senior Advisors: Refugee and Migrant Support contact details

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