Using equity funding for students from low socio-economic backgrounds

The socio-economic background equity loading provides additional resources to schools to support the additional learning needs of students who may be experiencing educational disadvantage as a result of their socio-economic background.

The socio-economic background equity loading is calculated using the family occupation and education index (FOEI), a school-level index of educational disadvantage related to socio-economic background. For information, see Learning Curve 5: Getting the Funding Right (CESE).

The equity loading may include both staff entitlement and flexible funding. Staff entitlement included in the loading is funded from the loading and is not in addition to the loading. Staff entitlement must be used for staffing.

The SBAR resource hub provides further information about using the equity loading for students from low socio-economic backgrounds. Depending on the level of resourcing your school receives, your socio-economic background equity loading:

  • will be used to support your school’s strategic directions
  • will maximise opportunities to explore innovative practices that have a high impact on student growth and attainment
  • can be used for the benefit of students in this equity group for ‘business as usual’ initiatives (these are accounted for in SPaRO in ‘Other funded activities’ not linked to a specific strategic direction)
  • is accounted for in terms of impact on students and their learning through the Strategic Improvement Plan (SIP) and the annual report
  • is to be expended in the calendar year in which it is received.

See examples of strategically using equity funding in your SIP.

Reflective questions on school funding

  • Has our low socio-economic background equity loading been used to implement evidence-based initiatives that lead to measurable improvements in outcomes for our students from low socio-economic backgrounds?
  • Does the Strategic Improvement Plan (SIP) meet the needs of all our students from low socio-economic backgrounds? How do we know?
  • As a school with a high concentration of educational disadvantage, do we need a different approach to past practice to address the needs of our students?
  • As a school in a high socio-economic area, how will we explicitly plan to meet the needs of our educationally disadvantaged students?
  • Have all initiatives, including those not linked to a specific strategic direction, that are funded through this equity loading been accounted for in the ‘Annual additional funding activities’ and evaluated for publication in the annual report?

Learn more

Find out more about School Excellence in Action.


  • Teaching and learning


  • Access and equity
  • Educational accountability
  • Educational finance
  • Finance
  • Health, safety and wellbeing
  • Planning, budgeting and forecasting
  • Reporting and performance
  • School Excellence Framework

Business Unit:

  • School Performance – South
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