Poor pupil access to computers in half of all schools

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Pupils in more than half of all UK state schools have poor access to ICT and computers according to new research by the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA).

Poor wireless (Wi-Fi) provision was cited as a major problem in many schools with 65 per cent of primary schools and 54 per cent of secondary schools considering themselves under-resourced in Wi-Fi connectivity.

A significant number of surveyed schools also reported that they were under-resourced in broadband provision (42 per cent of primary schools and 31 per cent of secondary schools).

Caroline Wright, BESA director said: “It is of great concern that pupils are being denied access to innovative and effective digital learning because of poor internet connectivity in more than half of the UK’s schools.

“In today’s digital society, classroom connectivity to an online world of knowledge and resources should be a right for every student in their place of learning and not a lottery.”

The 17th annual Information and Communication Technology in UK State Schools report flags findings drawn from survey questionnaires of ICT co-ordinators at 727 primary and 498 secondary schools across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Changes in the Government’s assessment arrangements also appears to have prompted an increase in the need for continuing professional development (CPD) with 60 per cent of primary schools surveyed identifying a need for teachers to receive assessment training over the coming year.

Continued increases in the numbers of tablet computers used in schools also prompted 53 per cent of primary schools to anticipate a need for teacher training in the use of the technology by 2016.

The report also highlights the fact that the number of computers in use in UK schools is expected to increase by 50,000 units in primary schools and 92,000 units in secondary schools.

The increasing adoption of tablet technology in schools, with its lower cost per device, is also contributing to the fact that more children have access to a computing device.

ICT budgets are also expected to grow during 2014/15 by 5.5 per cent to an average of £14,450 per primary school and by 9.0 per cent, to £64,400 in a typical secondary school.

e-Learning Update
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