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Schools won't know which kids targeted

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 27/05/2016 Sarah Robson

Schools will soon start receiving a slice of their funding based on the number of students they have who are at risk of under-achieving.

But schools won't know who those students are, or even how many at-risk children they have on their roll.

As part of Thursday's budget, Education Minister Hekia Parata announced that over the next four years, just over $43 million of operating funding will be allocated to schools based on this new targeted approach, which aims to help about 150,000 children.

Using anonymised data from the Ministry of Social Development, schools with children with who have spent a significant proportion of their lives in welfare-dependent families will be identified.

Schools will then be allocated funding based on how many at-risk students they have.

But schools won't be told who the at-risk children are, or how many there are, with Ms Parata saying schools already know which children and families are struggling and need more support.

"The targeting is used to arrive at the allocation of funding. Once they receive the funding, how they raise achievement is up to schools," she told reporters on Friday.

"This is no different from the way we do operational grants, or decile funding or a range of other programmes."

Ms Parata said she trusts schools to spend the money on struggling students.

"I don't think schools are going to be using money to do playgrounds if they've got a challenge with reading, or with maths, or with science."

Ms Parata said most schools will get some allocation of funding through this new approach, with just one to two per cent of schools missing out.

"The sector has long been saying we want better targeting, we want greater priority for those kids most at risk and we have heard and are responding."

The $43m targeted funding boost comes instead of an across-the-board increase to school operational grants.

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