Press release:BESA releases ‘ICT in UK State Schools’ research

Shift to adoption of mobile learning in schools

UK schools make a significant shift towards the adoption of laptop computers, a nationwide survey of 1,379 schools has found, with twice the demand for laptops than desktops.

The findings support the increasing move by schools away from isolated computer rooms and towards embedded ICT across the curriculum. Laptops are increasingly used in the classroom environment to share ideas and make learning more flexible.

The British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) findings come from the 14th annual survey into the opinions and trends of ‘ICT in UK State Schools’.  The highly anticipated research, carried out in conjunction with the National Education Research Panel (NERP) showed that while only 13 percent of schools have an extensive requirement for desktop computers, the percentage increases to 30 percent for laptop computers.

BESA’s research is based on a survey of ICT co-ordinators and heads of IT from 812 primary schools and 567 secondary schools across the UK, conducted in July 2010.

The survey showed that since 2005 there has been a higher net (new purchases minus redundancy) provision of laptop than desktop computers. By 2010 it is estimated that there were 2.54 million computers across all UK maintained schools. The majority of these (1.75 million) were desktop computers with the remaining (0.78 million) being laptops. This is over half a million more computers than recorded in 2005. It is anticipated that in 2010/211 laptop purchases in primary schools will exceed desktop computer purchases for the first time, while in secondary schools the provision of desktop and laptop computers will be equal.

By 2011 an expected reduction in the number of computers being purchased and a high level of redundancy will lead to a 7.4 percent decline in desktop computers. However, in comparison, schools are likely to retain more laptop computers resulting in a lower level of redundancy and an overall higher provision of laptops in schools.

Although schools are purchasing more computers than are being made redundant, the net increases are small and previously high net purchasing prior to 2005 has led to the finding that the average age of computers in UK maintained schools is rising.

Ray Barker, director of BESA explains: “The BESA ICT in UK State Schools research indicates that technology has become a part of the way children learn. Nearly half of all schools anticipate more than 50 percent of pupil-time being exposed to teaching and learning using ICT. The shift from school’s investment from static desktops to mobile laptop computers is a predictable evolution that more accurately reflects the learning environment in schools today.”

Other findings from the research

Internet Bandwidth

The provision of Wi-Fi networks across schools continues to rise with an average of 9Mbps provision in primary schools (3Mbps in 2007) and 31Mbps in secondary.
75 percent of primary and 92 percent of secondary schools have access to wireless networks
Secondary schools demand over twice the current available bandwidth (68Mbps) to meet needs. It is recognised that the increase in demand for bandwidth is in direct response to the significant increase in the use of online resources by schools.
Computer access

71 percent of primary schools and 70 percent of secondary schools provide teachers with good access to computer equipment for curriculum purposes.
Digital content

48 percent of primary school ICT leaders consider themselves to be well resourced with digital content. In 2008 less than a quarter held the same view.

About BESA

BESA, the British Educational Suppliers Association, is the trade association representing over 300 educational suppliers in the UK, including manufacturers and distributors of equipment, materials, books, consumables, furniture, technology, ICT hardware and digital-content related services to the education market.

With 75 years of experience, BESA offers unparalleled support, research, events and advice on both UK and International markets, and the future of the education supplies industry.  BESA is focused on promoting and providing support and advice to their members, the industry and to schools.

BESA has a Code of Practice to which all members must adhere, along with a stringent membership process, both of which assure buyers of a high standard of quality in both product and customer service.

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