asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what effects he estimates the 18 per cent. fall in real terms of expenditure in the last seven years on books, equipment and materials in secondary schools will have on the adequacy of educational provision especially with regard to learning the use of the new technologies in the schools.
Although the latest indications are that total expenditure per secondary school pupil in 1981–82 was at a record level in real terms, my right hon. Friend has expressed concern on a number of occasions about levels of expenditure on books and equipment in some local education authorities and schools. Information is not collected on the purchase of specific items of equipment related to the new technologies, but under the Government's micros in schools scheme, 50 per cent. assistance is being provided towards the cost of microcomputers for secondary schools. Over 90 per cent. of secondary schools have now obtained a microcomputer under the scheme, which complements the microelectronics education programme on which the Government are now spending about £4 million per annum.