Equity loading for socio-economic background
The equity loading for socio-economic background is a funding allocation to support NSW public schools to meet the additional learning needs of students from low socio-economic backgrounds. This is the fourth year this loading has been provided to schools through the Resource Allocation Model (RAM).
Additional funding is going into this loading in 2017.
Data is extracted from ERN in early Term 2 each year. This data is used to calculate the Family Occupation and Education Index (FOEI) score for each school.
Schools need to ensure their data about parental education and occupation levels captured through the Enrolment Registration Number (ERN) system is current.
Every student in quarter 1 and quarter 2 of the FOEI is funded. Quarter 1 students are funded at double the rate of quarter 2 students, as research shows they have a higher level of additional learning needs.
The socio-economic background loading is determined by the school's average FOEI score for the past two years, as was the case in 2016. The use of an average provides greater stability from one year to the next.
Accountability for the effective use of the funds to improve student learning occurs through the annual report.
Schools are expected to use the funding in the year it is allocated.
Socio-economic equity loading in 2017
In 2017, the equity loading for socio-economic background will fund approximately 395,000 students across more than 2,185 NSW public schools. Schools will receive funding for all students in quarters 1 and 2 of the FOEI.
Additional funding and refined methodology for 2017
A significant increase in the level of funding in the equity loading for socio-economic background has allowed a refinement of the methodology for this loading. Schools with a mid-range FOEI (80-140) cater for a large number of students from low socio-economic backgrounds but have previously attracted a relatively low rate of funding per student.
With this new methodology over 1,000 schools with a FOEI between 1 and 105 will receive a variable rate per student that corresponds to their FOEI, rather than a flat rate which ignores the differences in the concentration of low SES students across these schools. The following graph shows the difference of flattening the curve between the current funding model and the 2017 new model.
How will schools receive their allocation?
Schools will receive flexible funding and/or a staffing allocation. Schools that receive support under this loading in the form of staff are schools that have existing positions associated with former equity programs.
Schools that have not previously held a staffing entitlement under an equity program allocation will receive flexible funding.
How can schools use these funds to support students?
Principals consult with staff, parents and carers to determine the best way to support the learning needs of students in their schools. The School Planning and Reporting - Equity Funding Support Package is available for principals on the Leadership and High Performance intranet page.
Some schools can choose to combine their equity funding with other funding sources to better support the needs of students. Whole of school programs and strategies may also support particular groups of students or individual students. For ideas on how schools are using their equity funding, visit the School Stories page of the Leadership and High Performance intranet page.
All schools have a school plan which must show their school community how they propose to support students. Accountability for the effective use of funds to improve student learning occurs through the annual report.
How is the loading for socio-economic background calculated?
The loading is based on a combination of student and school need using the Family Occupation and Education Index (FOEI). The FOEI measure was developed following research undertaken by the Department that identified parental education attainment as a strong predictor of student and school performance. If parental occupation is added to this, the predictive power is further enhanced.
Information on parental level of school education, highest non-school qualification and occupational category is drawn from data collected on enrolment forms and recorded through the Enrolment Registration Number (ERN) system. Data is extracted from ERN in early Term 2 each year. This information is used to calculate the FOEI score for each school.
The loading is allocated to schools on the basis of greatest need as identified by FOEI. A school with a high FOEI score is a school with a higher level of need.
All students in NSW public schools are distributed across four socio-economic quarters. The loading funds all students in quarter 1 and quarter 2 of the FOEI in every NSW public school.
A student in quarter 1 is funded at double the student funding rate of a student in quarter 2, as research shows that students in quarter 1 have the higher level of additional learning needs.
Why do FOEI scores change?
After the FOEI was introduced in 2014, many schools took the opportunity to update the data they collected from parents through ERN. The FOEI scores for some schools have changed to reflect the fact that there is now better quality information about the students and their families in our schools. As a result some schools' FOEI scores have changed significantly.
In 2017, the socio-economic background loading will again be determined by the school's average FOEI score for the past two years. The use of an average provides greater stability from one year to the next.
For a more detailed explanation of the FOEI refer to Learning Curve Issue 5 Getting the funding right and the technical paper Family Occupation and Education Index (FOEI) 2013.