Almost half of schools planning to increase ICT expenditure in 2013
But other research shows that many are failing to use IT to its full potential
Almost half of schools are planning to increase their spending on ICT in 2013, despite the fact that overall education spending has been declining since 2009-10.
43% of schools are planning to increase their ICT and technology budget, according to research conducted by Capita SIMS. The study found that management information systems (MIS) are also playing an increasingly important role in schools, with 81% of schools surveyed saying that their teachers have access to MIS in the classroom.
MIS are used for a number of purposes, with 94% of teachers surveyed using it to take registration electronically, 84% using it to record and track pupil assessment data and 63% recording and monitoring behaviour.
Phil Neal, Capita SIMS' managing director, said, "This survey shows that schools recognise the importance of continuing to invest in ICT with almost half planning to increase their expenditure."
He added, "It is clear from the wider use of MIS within schools, that there is an increased focus on maximising the full potential of existing technology to positively influence pupil outcomes... it can be used to build a complete picture of a child and ensure that interventions can take place earlier if necessary. For example, electronic registration can highlight patterns of absence or lateness that can be followed up quickly."
However, there is evidence that many schools are failing to use their IT to its maximum potential. A separate survey of 6,000 schools found that 40% of servers and workstations are missing security patches, with 26% of devices in the schools surveyed left on overnight.
In addition, the survey, which was conducted by cloud IT management firm CentraStage, found that 50% of PCs and laptops in schools are still running Windows XP, originally launched in 2001, while 32% of devices are more than four years old.
Christian Nagele, CEO of CentraStage, said, "With the size of school IT estates, the ongoing pressure on public sector budgets and yet the relentless forward march of IT adoption into schools, it is no surprise that IT service providers in the education sector are faced with something of a perfect storm.
"However, what is surprising is just how few IT service providers in this sector seem to have proactive, real-time visibility of the networks they are responsible for supporting. This in turn can be a real detriment to the attainment of students."