Half of UK schools’ broadband and Wi-Fi fails to make the grade

A new report warns of pupils in UK state primary and secondary schools being denied the right to an effective digital learning environment because of poor connectivity in classrooms.

More than half of UK schools have inadequate Wi-Fi and broadband, according to research by the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA).

A nationwide survey revealed that 65% of state primary schools and 54% of state secondary schools would consider themselves "under-resourced" when it comes to Wi-Fi connectivity.

Wireless aside, the survey found 42% of primary schools and 31% of secondary schools were unhappy overall with the broadband they're able to offer pupils.

The 17th annual Information and Communication Technology in UK State Schools report warns of a "digital divide" between schools with Wi-Fi and those without.

Caroline Wright, BESA director, said: "It's of great concern that pupils are being denied access to innovative and effective digital learning because of poor internet connectivity in more than half of the UK's schools.

"In today's digital society, classroom connectivity to an online world of knowledge and resources should be a right for every student in their place of learning, and not a lottery."

On a more positive note, school information and communications technology budgets, which cover broadband, Wi-Fi, computers and tablets, are expected to grow by 5.5% in the current academic year to an average of £14,450 per primary school and £64,400 per secondary school.

In the survey, 53% of primary schools said the use of tablets, like Apple's iPad, in classrooms prompts a greater need for teacher training in how to use such technology.

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