BESA releases ‘ICT in UK State Schools’ research

Schools getting on with it by themselves

 20 September 2011: At a time of significant uncertainty and funding cuts the results of the new 2011 British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) research indicate that that by 2012/13 nearly half of all schools anticipate more than 50 per cent of pupil-time being exposed to teaching and learning using ICT. The headline finding of the 2011 survey of 1,324 UK schools (772 primary, 552 secondary), conducted in July 2011, was supported by the fact that 10 per cent note that nearly 100 per cent of all pupil-time will involve exposure to ICT. Also, 49 per cent of primary and 33 per cent of secondary schools stated that they were to maintain or increase their planned ICT investments for 2011/12.

 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) provides analysis into the likely provision of technology in UK state schools in the next year and gives extensive insight into teacher confidence, training and the level of ICT in schools.

 The majority of schools are still concerned at not yet having a government policy for ICT in schools; however, the focus of government policy is to give schools the freedom and autonomy to choose the ICT tools and resources appropriate to meeting their specific needs. The research seems to indicate that educators cannot look to detailed guidance from the Department for Education and must use what they have learned from the embedding of ICT over the past 15 years to move forward. Schools are showing their continued reliance on ICT by demanding even more training for their staff in order to make more use of their ICT infrastructure, more digital content, more access to the internet and more mobile solutions, not only to achieve best value, but also to meet the challenges of young people in the digital age.

 Ray Barker, director of BESA explains: “The BESA ICT in UK State Schools research indicates that despite negative views about the funding of ICT, an increasing amount of pupil-time is exposed to teaching and learning using ICT. The government has moved very quickly to change the entire education system over the past year and many educators are confused. We have to be clear that schools are not going to be ‘told what to do any more’ so don’t need to wait to be guided by the government on their ICT investments. Schools know that they must therefore continue to invest in ICT to stop a new form of digital divide being created – between schools. They are definitely not standing still – they are just getting on with it.”

 Other findings

  • While only a fifth of primary and a quarter of secondary schools have an

  extensive requirement for desktop computers in the current year, the

  percentage increases to around a third for laptop computers.

  • There is an extensive requirement for digital content in a third of schools –

  up from a quarter in 2010, although a fifth of schools have no requirement,

  which is a significant increase than seen in recent years.

  • Internet bandwidth requirements are generally increasing, with a quarter of

  secondary schools indicating an extensive requirement, compared to fewer

  than 10 per cent in 2005. Demand in primary schools is less significant, but it

  remains the case that a fifth of primary schools have an extensive


  • Training requirements in the use of learning platforms remains very high in

  primary schools, with 70 per cent indicating that more than half of teachers require

  training. Demand for training in secondary schools is declining in


  • Training requirements in using digital content by teachers is higher in

  secondary schools, where 55 per cent of ICT leaders indicate more than half of

  teachers require training. In primary schools demand is lower, but remains


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