BESA ICT report: secondary school ICT budgets drop by £17m

We look at some of the key stats in BESA’s ICT in UK Maintained Schools report


Budgets are listed as one of the top concerns for schools

Primary sector budget (average per school)

2018/19: £14,360
2019/20 (projection): £14,820 (3%)

Secondary sector budget (average per school)

2018/19: £60,290
2019/20 (projection): £62,290 (+3%)

Primary school ICT budgets have risen by £8m over seven years, through periods of expansion and contraction.

Secondary school ICT budgets have also had periods of expansion and contraction, though they have reduced by £17m over the last seven years.

Predictions show that in the 2019/20 academic year, spending on ICT will be as follows:

Primaries – an average of £14,770 per school
Secondaries – an average of £57,910 per school

Challenges for schools

Another top challenge for schools is adequate teacher training

Ensuring adequate training for teachers in using ICT resources remains the biggest challenge for primary schools (39%), though the level of concern has dropped from 54% in 2018.

The second biggest challenge is securing funds for ICT (36%), though this too has fallen from 2018 (47%).

The biggest challenge for secondary schools is securing funds (67%), a rise of 11% since 2018 (56%). The second biggest challenge is ensuring adequate training for teachers (49%), but this concern has seen a 17% fall since last year (66%).

Device purchases

Schemes such as BYOD mean that secondary schools are buying fewer devices

Due to BYOD schemes and pressures on ICT spending, secondary schools are recording lower levels of device purchases both now and in the future, whereas primaries are seeing a rise. In 2019, the average number of devices across primary schools is 76.7, increasing to an average of 85.2 in 2020 (+11%). For secondary schools, the 2019 average stands at 384.6, decreasing to 363.9 in 2020 (-5%).

ICT downgrading

Fewer schools downgraded their ICT in 2019 compared to 2018

In 2019, only 10% of primaries downgraded their ICT significantly, compared to 25% downgrading in 2018. This is a drop of 15%.

Similarly, only 6% of secondaries significantly downgraded their ICT in 2019, compared to 12% in 2018; a drop of 6%.

Changes in ICT investment

Changes in ICT budget cause both positive and negative outcomes

Changes in ICT investments invariably means negative impacts on many areas within primary schools. These schools indicated the likelihood of negative impacts as follows:

Classroom ICT – 45%
Digital content – 40%
Learning platforms – 34%
Pupil devices – 31%
Teacher devices – 25%
Systems software – 8%
Assessment solutions – 5%
Wifi – 4%
Broadband – 3%

22% of primaries reported no negative impact from changes in ICT investment.

Primary schools indicated the positive impact of ICT investment changes as:

Teacher devices – 31%
Pupil devices – 26%
Software systems – 26%
Wifi – 23%
Broadband – 16%
Assessment solutions – 12%
Classroom ICT – 9%
Digital content – 8%
Learning platforms – 4%

35% of primaries reported no positive impact from changes in ICT investment.

Secondaries also reported both positive and negative impacts of ICT investments. They suggested the following impact likelihoods:


Classroom ICT – 36%
Digital content – 26%
Pupil devices – 25%
Learning platforms – 20%
Teacher devices – 16%
Systems software – 5%
Assessment solutions – 3%
Wifi – 2%
Broadband – 1%

38% of secondaries reported no negative impact.


Systems software – 35%
Teacher devices – 28%
Wifi – 23%
Broadband – 23%
Pupil devices – 20%
Digital content – 19%
Learning platforms – 15%
Assessment solutions – 11%
Classroom ICT – 10%

24% of secondaries reported no positive impact.


A move to the cloud for all schools was a suggestion in the government’s edtech strategy this year

58% of secondary schools have implemented cloud services, whereas only 36% of primary schools have done so.

The full report is available on BESA’s website here.

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