America still leads school computer race

15th October 1999 at 01:00
Britain still lags behind the US in the ratio of school computers per student. American schools have five students to every machine, compared with eight per computer in British secondaries and 13 in primary schools.

The US figures appeared recently in Education Week, while the British statistics originate from the latest DFEE survey of 667 primaries and 706 secondaries.

Ninety per cent of US schools are connected to the Net and 51 per cent of classrooms have access. In Britain, 93 per cent of secondaries (up 10 per cent from 1998) and 62 per cent of primaries (a dramatic increase on last year's 17 per cent figure) have Internet access.

The rise in the number of schools with Net access indicates that NGFL spending is reaching schools. Spending on ICT for teaching and learning in primaries more than doubled this year to pound;105 million, while secondary schools enjoyed a pound;17 million rise to pound;136 million. The average figures per school are now pound;5,700 and pound;38,200 respectively.

Ninety per cent of British secondary schools and 79 per cent of primaries say they have an ICT development plan.

There is also good news about teacher confidence with ICT. Sixty-six per cent of secondary teachers say they feel capable of using it in the curriculum, but surprisingly the figure for primary teachers is higher at 68 per cent.

Information and Communications Technology in Maintained Primary and Secondary Schools in England: 1999.

DFEE Statistical First Release. Tel: 01325 392765. www.edweek.orgsreportstc99

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