Less than £10 spend per child on ICT in many UK schools

Across in England and Wales 1,804 primary schools spend less than £10 per pupil on ICT (Information and Communication Technology) equipment. Many pupils are therefore going without up-to-date learning tools, reveals research by Syscap, a leading independent IT finance provider to the education sector.

Worse still between the period of April 1 2009 to March 31 2010 377 of the 14,495 primary schools in England and Wales spent nothing at all.

Philip White, Chief Executive of Syscap, comments: “To hear that 12% of primary schools are spending £10 per primary school pupil is especially worrying as this data covers a period before the real tightening of education budgets began.”

Says Philip White: “ICT resources have a very short shelf life especially in a school environment. Low levels of ICT investment means that schools will soon be running old, slow and very unreliable equipment which will impair the effectiveness of learning through ICT use.”

“When you consider the pace of change in ICT equipment and the increasing importance of ICT to the competitiveness of the UK economy such a small per pupil expenditure seems anachronistic.”

“Arguably you can choose to put off investing in other parts of the school’s infrastructure for a while such, as buildings, but deferring investing in technology can have a very quick and detrimental impact on the effectiveness and relevance of their ICT assets.”

“Even the national average spend annual spend on ICT of £50 per primary school pupil is seen by many commentators as too low.”

“Ofsted’s surveys of the use of ICT in schools find that technology can be extremely effective in helping pupils to acquire literacy skills. For example, using the internet for research is a great way to engage boys who are felt to be reluctant readers and writers, and computer software can be used to help children with English as a second language with their grammar and pronunciation.”

“But obsolete equipment will mean that schools can’t use the latest educational software, and pupils will inevitably lose their enthusiasm for a project if the computer keeps crashing”

Philip White added: “Most of us take access to the internet and using a computer for granted, and it is easy to forget that for many children, school is the only place where they can use technology.”

“Of course new investment is difficult in this economic climate, but it is vital that pupils are not left behind in a world where more and more information is being delivered through technology.”

Philip White says schools can bypass the short-shelf life of IT resources easing ICT equipment at a fixed cost per year.