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.

In 2019, the equity loading for socio-economic background is funding approximately 384,000 students across more than 2,182 NSW public schools. Schools received funding for all students in quarters 1 and 2 of the Family Occupation and Education Index (FOEI).

Key messages

  • Data is extracted from Enrolment Registration Number (ERN) in early Term 2 each year. This data is used to calculate the FOEI score for each school.
  • Schools need to ensure their data about parental education and occupation levels captured through the 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 2018. 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.

Fund allocation

Schools 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 received flexible funding.

How is the loading calculated?

The loading is based on a combination of student and school need using the 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 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 2019, the socio-economic background loading is again 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 (PFD 968 KB).

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