How are they funded?

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A new funding formula will apply to any new Partnership School opening from 2017. This formula is designed to incentivise sponsors to grow their rolls, and enrich the links between Partnership Schools and their communities by encouraging sponsors to partner with community organisations, iwi, businesses, philanthropists and other third parties for additional resourcing.

The main change is that new Partnership School will receive per-student funding more closely tied to the actual number of students attending them. Below, you will find more detail about the specific changes being made to each of the funding formula’s components to do this.

Establishment rate

An establishment rate replaces the current set-up grant. It is made up of:

  • a fixed contribution to set-up costs of $250,000 for primary schools and $400,000 for secondary schools
  • six months of property funding, calculated using a new property per-student rate for the number of students expected to be enrolled in the school’s first year of operation
  • six months of a principal’s salary.

It is anticipated sponsors will be able to contribute or access additional non-government resources if they wish to spend more than the establishment rate.

Property rate

Cash for Buildings continues to be used to determine property funding for Partnership Schools, but is converted to a per-student rate and applied to actual student numbers.

Sponsors may need to look at securing additional resources to avoid the need to shift as rolls grow, and to provide a buffer against roll fluctuations.

Teaching and operating rate

A single per-student teaching and operating rate replaces the base grant and per-student rate covering operations and staffing. This new rate is based on average salary and operational costs for state schools. It provides two rates – a higher rate for the first 50 primary students and first 100 secondary students with each subsequent student attracting a lower rate. This results in the amounts set out in the table below:

Per-student teaching and operating rates

School and roll


Primary roll 50 and below


Primary roll 51 and above


Secondary roll 100 and below


Secondary roll 101 and above


The Teaching and Operating Rate will be adjusted annually to reflect the inflation with a weighting of 70% Labour Market Index (LMI)  and 30% Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Professional development and resources rate

No changes are being made to the centrally-funded support provided to Partnership Schools, other than renaming this component the Professional Development and Resources Rate.

Contract changes

With the first Partnership Schools having been operating for 18 months, it was timely to review the terms of the contract between the Crown and sponsors. As a result, a number of changes are being made to the contract that will apply to any new Partnership Schools.

These changes will:

  • strengthen the introductory section to have a clearer focus on student achievement, reinforce the partnership concept, and be specific about having a high flexibility/high accountability model
  • be more directive about what assessment tools should be used and how the data is recorded and reported
  • provide a minimum level of funding based on an agreed number of students for the first quarter after opening.  From the second term onwards the funding is based on the actual roll.  This change is to incentivise schools to actively seek enrolments.
  • provide for a process that allows options of a letter and a new formal notice process prior to intervention, enabling the Government to raise concerns or flag a minor breach in a way that allows for quick remedy, and provide feedback and clarity on unacceptable behaviour
  • increase the scope for asking Partnership Schools to provide evidence they are meeting minimum requirements
  • give the Minister the ability to introduce random audits or inspections in a more serious situation or when there has been a trend of breaches, and
  • increase the permitted interval between a performance event and termination to provide more time to carry out required processes and exhaust remedial options.