School operations

Student Resource Package – Equity Funding (Student-Based Funding)

Equity (Social Disadvantage) (Reference 11)

Funding for Equity (Social Disadvantage) provides an individual loading for students from disadvantaged backgrounds that will increase with the density of disadvantage at the school. Social disadvantage can often place students well behind their peers when entering the education system. Increased funding for schools has proven to raise educational outcomes, particularly for these students. Schools will use Social Disadvantage funding to deliver tailored educational programs that meet the needs of this cohort of students.

The Equity (Social Disadvantage) loading allocates funding based on parental occupation, parental education and the level of concentration of disadvantage in a school. Students with the highest level of need will be targeted with the most funding to ensure schools have the resources to support them. The loading is needs based, however to increase year-on-year stability for schools, a floor on negative funding changes and a weighted rolling average is applied to this loading.

Whilst having similarities to the former Student Family Occupation (SFO) index, the Equity (Social Disadvantage) funding contains some important differences:

  • Social Disadvantage utilises both the Student Family Education (SFE) and SFO index, further strengthening the targeting of existing and new equity funding.
  • The median threshold previously used under the SFO for equity no longer exists.
  • All students identified with high needs will be provided with funding.


All school types are eligible. Students identified with high needs will be provided with funding at school level.*

Funding will be calculated at the Indicative budget cycle only. Funding is allocated as cash and credit funding.

How social disadvantage is identified

The level of Social Disadvantage is measured through the student’s Student Family Occupation and Education (SFOE), which is a combination of their SFO and SFE categories. The matrix below in Table 1 depicts the possible SFOE categories a student may have. These categories are used to determine which students come from disadvantaged backgrounds and the Social Disadvantage loading they would attract. There are two levels of Social Disadvantage loadings available, depending on the student’s level of need:

Level 1: For students with parents who are unemployed with below diploma level education or have lower skilled jobs with very low or low education

Level 2: For students with parents who have various combinations of medium and low skilled jobs and education levels, or are unemployed with a diploma level education

Table 1

The letters (A to U) in the far right columns reference SFO categories

CASES21 CodeEducation Category
0SFE Not Stated/Unknown000000
1SFE Yr 9 or below002110
2SFE Yr 10 or equivalent002110
3SFE Yr 11 or equivalent002210
4SFE Yr 12 or equivalent000210
5SFE Certificate I to IV000210
6SFE Advanced Dip/Diploma000020
7SFE Bachelor degree or above000000

The density of need according to each school’s new SFOE index will further weight the Social Disadvantage loadings.

To calculate the SFO index, the parent’s occupation is categorised and weighted according to the categories found in Table 2 below.

Data regarding occupational categories is collected each year as part of the August census.

While schools can access Panorama data, this is not used for SRP funding purposes. Only data collected at census is used for SRP funding.

Table 2

CategoryOccupation GroupingWeighting
ASenior management in large business organisation, government administration and defence, and qualified professionals0.00
BOther business managers, arts/media/sports persons and associate professionals0.25
CTradesmen/women, skilled office, sales and service staff0.50
DMachine operators, hospitality staff, assistants, labourers and related workers0.75
NUnemployed & pensioners (for 12 months or longer)1.00

Data recorded in the August census as 'unknown' is allocated to the SFO density category as ‘Occupation Group A’ and attracts a zero weighting.

For detailed categorisation of SFO occupational categories please refer to the link below:

Student Family Occupation Education PortalExternal Link

SFO, SFO and SFOE index calculation

The SFO index is then calculated using the method below:

SFO calculation = (Number of students × Weighting for each occupational category)/Total number of students based on the occupational groupings and weightings in Table 2

To calculate the SFE index, the parent’s educational qualification is categorised and weighted according to the categories found in Table 3 below. Data regarding educational qualification is collected annually as part of the August census.

Table 3

CASES21 CodeQualification GroupingWeighting
0Not stated/Unknown0.00
7Bachelor's degree or above0.00
6Advanced diploma/Diploma0.40
5Certificate I to IV (inc. trade certificate)0.50
4Year 12 or equivalent0.40
3Year 11 or equivalent0.70
2Year 10 or equivalent0.90
1Year 9 or equivalent or below1.00

NOTE: CASES21 Code 8 is No non-school qualification and defaults to the highest year of school completion.

The SFE index is then calculated using the method below:

SFE calculation = (Number of students × Weighting for each educational category)/Total number of students

To determine the SFOE index with the SFO and SFE indices, the following calculation is used:

SFOE calculation = (SFO index + SFE index)/2

Example: If a school has an SFO of 0.6342 and an SFE of 0.6156, the SFOE index would be 0.6249.

How social disadvantage funding is calculated

Social Disadvantage funding is allocated to schools based on the number of eligible students. Measures are applied to provide more stability in funding while reflecting the need profile of current and more recent student cohorts. A weighted rolling average based on the current year and 2 years preceding will be used to determine the inputs to calculate Social Disadvantage funding allocations. The weightings are 70% of the current year, 20% of the prior year, and 10% of the year before that will be applied to the campus SFOE index and the number of eligible Level 1 and 2 students.

To determine how much Social Disadvantage funding a school will receive, the following method is used (weighted accordingly for the current year and the two previous years):

  • The school’s SFOE will be used to calculate the rate of Social Disadvantage loading each student will attract. Where a school’s SFOE is at or below the Minimum SFOE threshold, the minimum rate of each loading will be applied and, where it is at or above the Maximum SFOE threshold, each student attracts the Maximum rate for their loading. (Thresholds and rates can be found in Table 4).
  • For schools with an SFOE between the Minimum SFOE threshold and the Maximum SFOE threshold, the rate will be tapered based on their SFOE index. To determine the taper, the following calculation is used:

((Campus SFOE − Minimum SFOE threshold) / (Maximum SFOE threshold − Minimum SFOE threshold))

This is then applied to each loading rate by:

Minimum funding rate + (Taper × (Maximum funding rate − Minimum funding rate))

  • Once the Social Disadvantage loading rates are determined for the school, it is multiplied by the number of enrolled students eligible for either the Level 1 loading or Level 2 loading, respectively. The enrolment is based on the students recorded in the August census of the preceding year.
  • The school’s overall Social Disadvantage funding is calculated by combining both the total Level 1 and Level 2 loadings for eligible students.
  • To further reduce negative funding variability, a $90,000 floor on negative funding changes is applied to a school’s Social Disadvantage funding allocation from one year to the next. This means that a school’s Social Disadvantage funding allocation will not reduce by more than $90,000 year-on-year.
Example – Social Disadvantage funding for a primary school with the following SFOE and enrolment numbers over 3 years:
2024 actual2023 actual2022 actual2024 weighted (70%)2023 weighted (20%)2022 weighted (10%)Weighted average
Level 1166174160116.234.816167
Level 211814014482.62814.4125

Example of Loading calculations for a primary school (excluding the floor):

  • Level 1 student: ($1,289 + ((0.5797 − 0.3469) / (0.6192 − 0.3469)) × ($5,662 − $1,289)) × 167 enrolments = $839,618
  • Level 2 student: ($644 + ((0.5797 − 0.3469) / (0.6192 − 0.3469)) × ($2,834 − $644)) × 125 enrolments = $314,540
  • Total Social Disadvantage funding: $839,618 + $314,540 = $1,154,157

Table 4

Minimum SFOE thresholdMaximum SFOE thresholdLevel 1 student minimum rateLevel 1 student maximum rateLevel 2 student minimum rateLevel 2 student maximum rate

*The minimum funding allocation = $5,000

The enrolment is based on the numbers of Level 1 and 2 students recorded in annually in the August census of the preceding year. Data for 2024 is calculated using August 2023 census data submitted by schools and is not adjusted for the 2024 calendar year. The rolling weighted average also relies on August census data from the 2 periods prior (2022 and 2021).

Equity (Social Disadvantage) funding displayed in the Student Resource Package (SRP) reports

Funding calculated through the Equity (Social Disadvantage) formula is displayed in the SRP reports under the section titled Education State (Including Additional Gonski).

*The equity calculation for Parkville College is undertaken outside the standard formulation outlined in this section.

Equity (Social Disadvantage) extraordinary growth

For schools that experience a significant growth in enrolments in the February census compared to the SFOE census held in August of the preceding years, Social Disadvantage Extraordinary Growth line funds the percentage growth in excess of 50% if the enrolment growth is higher than a threshold (Threshold for secondary schools = 20 and for all other school types = 10). Funding rates are the same as the rates for Equity (Social Disadvantage).

Additionally, Equity (Social Disadvantage) Extraordinary Growth funding is provided to secondary campuses in their first 6 years of operation by reducing the enrolment growth threshold 50% to 0% for these settings only for a duration of their first 6 years.

Reference 11 of the SRP Guide, providing information on equity (social disadvantage) funding including SFOE index calculations

Reviewed 26 March 2024

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