ESOL funding

Your school may have students from migrant and refugee families. These students often need extra help in learning English to the level they need for their education.

We provide ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) funding so schools can offer extra English language learning support for eligible students who are learning English as a second language.

Applying for funding

There are 2 funding rounds a year (apply by 1 March or 1 August) - How to apply for ESOL funding

Read about different ways your school can use its ESOL funding.

ESOL funding criteria

ESOL funding is targeted at students with the highest English language learning needs. The need for ESOL funding is assessed using the English Language Learning Progressions (ELLP). The scoring system is based on matrices that record each English language learner’s (ELL’s) achievement level in listening, speaking, reading and writing.

Students whose scores are below the ELLP benchmarks will qualify for funding if they:

  1. are migrants to New Zealand
  2. are from a refugee background
  3. are New Zealand-born students, with at least one parent of migrant or refugee background

New Zealand born students are eligible if at least one of their parents is a migrant to New Zealand and a language other than English is usually spoken in the home. You can apply for ESOL funding after a New Zealand-born student has been at school for 2 terms as that will allow time to identify their specific needs.

Who doesn’t qualify:

  • adult students
  • international fee paying students
  • New Zealand-born students who have had 4 years in a New Zealand school
  • year 0/1 New Zealand-born students are not eligible for ESOL funding until their third term at school
  • students whose first language is identified as English or te reo Māori.

ESOL funding amounts

The ESOL funding allows more intensive support for ELLs in their first years at New Zealand schools.

We provide higher funding for ELLs arriving at intermediate and secondary school as they need to learn English to function across a wider curriculum with higher language demands.

ELLs from refugee backgrounds may also need more support as their previous education is likely to have been disrupted.

All funding amounts shown are GST exclusive.

Newly arrived migrant students (in their first year in a New Zealand school):

  • $850 a year at primary (years 0 to 6)
  • $1,150 a year at intermediate (years 7 and 8)
  • $1,500 a year at secondary (years 9 to 14)

Migrant students in their second and subsequent years of ESOL funding:

  • $650 a year at primary and intermediate 
  • $850 a year at secondary

Students from refugee backgrounds:

  • $1,250 a year in their first 2 years, if at primary or intermediate 
  • $1,900 a year in their first 2 years, if at secondary 
  • $650 in their third, fourth and fifth years, if at primary or intermediate 
  • $850 a year in their third, fourth and fifth years, if at secondary

Migrant and refugee background students are entitled to ESOL funding for up to 5 years (20 terms).

New Zealand-born students (of migrant or refugee parents) are eligible in years 0 to 4, at $650 a year after their first 2 terms in school, for up to 3 years (12 terms).

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