ipads_in_school_3A survey by specialist research firm Kable has found that refreshing the device estate is one of the top-three priorities for schools. Upgrading networks is also high on the agenda, with nearly two-thirds of all respondents described it as a high-priority spend.

According to the firm, UK schools spent £1.36bn on ICT in 2012/13 and the figure is expected to go on rising at around 0.4% per annum until 2017/18.  Both primary and secondary schools are increasingly spending more on portable PCs. Around half said laptops would increase as a proportion while two-thirds expect the proportion of desktops to fall in their next refresh. The number of tablets in use is also expected to rise.

Individual ICT markets for products or services will see different levels of growth. Overall spend on hardware will fall, but this will be offset by increasing outsourcing of IT processes, so there will be greater spend on PCs, servers and hardware through services contracts.

The research company notes that Academies and free schools are becoming more important, accounting for up to around a quarter of the overall ICT spend. Some multi-academy trusts are now putting procurement in the hands of specialists and buying managed IT services.