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A Members’ Bill to replace the school decile system with a needs index to better target funding to the children and young people most at risk of not achieving has been lodged today by East Coast Bays MP Erica Stanford.

“The decile system provides funding to schools based on discriminatory socio-economic characteristics. It is a well-intentioned but blunt instrument that has led to schools and students being stigmatised and unfairly judged,” Ms Stanford says.

“My Education (Social Investment Funding and Abolition of Decile System) Amendment Bill will replace the decile system with a needs index that more accurately indicates which students are most at risk of not achieving and therefore in need of more support.

“The needs index represents a social investment approach and will target funding to schools with students that evidence-based indicators show are most at risk of underachievement. These indicators would be determined by the Minister and must be reviewed and updated annually.

“This is about making sure that we have a system that provides fairer funding that better reflects the needs of children and young people in our schools.

“The Bill would also establish safeguards to protect the privacy of individual students and ensure that their data is anonymised. It will not be possible to identify which children generate the additional funding. Principals and teachers know their students best and are well-placed to provide the right support to the right children.

“Under the policy that National campaigned on, additional investment would be provided to ensure that no school, early learning service or kōhanga reo will see a reduction in their funding as a direct result of this change.

“Decile funding accounts for less than three per cent of a school’s total funding and schools would receive at least the equivalent funding that they would under the decile system. I expect some would gain significantly.

“The Government has talked about its desire to scrap the decile system but doesn’t appear to have any idea what to replace it with. My Bill provides a fairer solution and is a meaningful step to provide better support to enable all children to achieve.”

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