Typing is now a great deal more important than handwriting and a "life skill" that most children enjoy acquiring. There is also evidence that special needs pupils are better able to structure their writing when typing and those who struggle with presentation and laborious handwriting are saved from boring remarks from teachers such as "What messy writing!" or "Please take more care."
It is worth noting that dyspraxia experts warn against making dyspraxics touch-type because they are very reliant on their eyes and would need to learn to type in a more idiosyncratic way. (Ironically, it is these pupils whom staff are keen to see typing rather than handwriting - a good idea, but don't expect great speeds, and let them do it the two-finger way if touch-typing appears hard to master.)
Head of learning support, Mill Hill school, London