Schools will continue to invest in technology

More than half of primary and secondary schools in the UK will continue with IT spending and ICT investments next year and into 2012 despite budget cuts, research has found.

According to a survey by the British Educational Suppliers Association’s (BESA), which polled 812 primary and 567 secondary schools, many will continue to spend on technology and computers despite the demise of BECTA and the Building Schools for the Future programme.

However, they will be tightening their belts with BESA predicting that the amount spent on laptops and desktops will decline. But there’s good news too with the organisation claiming that the falling price of technology meaning schools will expect to get more technology with the same budget.

Of those polled, 58 percent of primary schools and 64 percent of secondary schools considered themselves well equipped in terms of desktop computers, but only 43 per cent of primary and 41 per cent of secondary schools said they were well equipped when it came to laptops. Seventy-one per cent of primary schools and seventy per cent of secondary schools said that teachers had good access to ICT for curriculum purposes.

In addition, those polled claimed that a total of 365,000 school computers were considered ineffective for teaching use. Primary schools had an average of seven ineffective computers each, while secondary schools reported an average of 48.

The provision of wireless networks in schools was also deemed inadequate with the survey finding that although 75 percent of primary schools and 92 percent of secondaries have access to wireless networks, there was insufficient bandwidth.

“Despite financial pressures faced by schools, the survey indicates they are managing the cuts sensibly and with optimism,” said Ray Barker, director of BESA. “This is in part due to the efficient procurement of resources by many schools as well as a drop in prices of individual units. They may be spending less, but they can get more for their money.”