COMPUTER use in Scottish schools has soared, according to the September 2000 school census published this week, and nearly every secondary school now has access to the Internet.
The number of modern computers for teaching and learning in public sector schools rose in one year by 23,100, bringing pupil to computer ratios down to 18:1 in primary, 7:1 in secondary and 5:1 in special schools. Internet connections were in 97 per cent of secondary schools, 64 per cent of primaries and 59 per cent of special schools.
For the first time the census collected figures for the percentage of teachers and pupils with e-mail addresses in school, and discovered that around half the teachers and pupils in secondary schools now have their own addresses (52 per cent of teachers and 43 per cent of pupils).
Equivalent figures for primary and special schools, where there are greater concerns over child protection, are far lower.
Although nearly two-thirds of primary schools and half of special schools have e-mail addresses, very few pupils do - only 6 per cent.
While the figures show huge rises over the previous year, they still leave Scotland substantially behind England in the primary and special school sectors. The latest published English figures, for April 2000, put the number of pupils per computer at 12.6 for primary, 3.7 for special schools and 7.9 for secondary.
Internet figures were also higher, with 98 per cent of secondary schools connected, 86 per cent of primaries and 92 per cent of special schools.
Leader, page 20