Almost all primary and secondary pupils have had "hands-on" experience of desk-top computers, according to a new survey by the Department for Education.
The study shows a big increase in the amount of information technology equipment available in schools, with an average of 10 secondary and 18 primary pupils now sharing one computer compared with 60 and 107 children respectively a decade ago.
Secondary schools spent an average of Pounds 23,950 on computers in 1993-94, compared with Pounds 15,450 and Pounds 2,250 per school in 1991-92 and 1984-85.
In primary schools the amount spent was Pounds 5,650 compared with Pounds 2,600 and Pounds 300 for the same years.
Of the 831 schools surveyed, a quarter of primary schools and a third of secondaries said IT had made a substantial contribution to teaching and learning, with most secondary schools using micros to improve special needs pupils' access to the curriculum.
In 1993-94 there were 85 micro-computers on average in secondary schools, with 10 in primaries and 15 in special schools.
All primaries reported using computers in English lessons, nearly all in mathematics and more than three-quarters in science, geography and art.
In secondary schools between 50 and 80 per cent of departments made "some" use of information technology, although subjects such as classics, drama, economics and physical education did not use them at all.
The most common administrative use of IT in all schools was for word processing, followed by budgeting and accounting. In all 90 per cent of secondaries use computers for pupil records and assessments, 86 per cent for statistical returns and about three quarters for timetabling and teacher records.
Eric Forth, the education junior minister, welcomed the findings of the report. He said: "We are world leaders in IT at schools, recognising its vital importance to the future of all pupils. The figures show clearly the advances we have made in the field.
"It is an investment, not only in our individual children and their lives in the 21st century, but in our country's future as well."