A consultation on comprehensive reforms to the education and training of architects
Wednesday 8 February 2023 | News Releases
The Architects Registration Board is today launching a major public consultation on its plans for a new regulatory framework for educating and training architects. ARB’s comprehensive reforms would see the regulatory framework change from the current approach (Parts 1, 2 and 3) to require only two accredited qualifications. The reforms aim to support flexibility and widen access to the profession, whilst also enabling learning providers to innovate and maintain their global reputation for quality. This three-month consultation is a significant opportunity for architects, educators and students to review ARB’s proposals in detail and share their views.
Hugh Simpson, Chief Executive and Registrar of the Architects Registration Board, said:
‘Our education and training proposals represent a landmark for the future of the profession – the first large-scale review in as much as five decades. Our new regulatory framework will enable new pathways to registration, offering a variety of flexible routes to anyone who wishes to bring their skills and talent to this respected profession. We urge architects, academics, students and anyone with an interest in architecture to respond to this consultation. Your input is a valuable contribution to creating a new high-quality educational model for the 21st century.’
ARB is the professional regulator responsible for setting the standards for registration as an architect. A fundamental part of this role is to set clear requirements for the outcomes of initial education and training, which in turn assure the public that all those on the Register of Architects are competent to practise.
Following two years of detailed policy development, including focus groups, surveys and events, ARB is now consulting on its new approach to the way architects are trained and educated. These innovative proposals aim to improve diversity and access to the profession, focusing on outcomes – what architects can do – rather than the learning process itself. ARB’s proposed framework focuses on flexibility; it is intended to be compatible with apprenticeships and other new routes that could emerge in the future, and will also break down barriers to multi-professional education and training. As well as redefining access to the profession for would-be architects, ARB’s work also includes providing ‘clearer and stronger’ standards for learning providers.
ARB’s proposals include:
- New educational structure: The structure of architectural education and training will change from the current approach (Parts 1, 2 and 3) to require only two accredited qualifications. This flexible structure will open up new entry points and enable a range of pathways for future architects. It will be based on both Academic Outcomes (equivalent to Level 7) and Practice Outcomes (gained through professional practical experience).
- Modernised competencies: Qualifications will be focused on competency outcomes: based on what architects can do, not what they are taught. The competencies take a modern approach, based on research into how the profession and the world around it are changing.
- Standards: Clearer and stronger standards will be in place for universities and all learning providers delivering ARB-accredited qualifications.
- Quality assurance: ARB will introduce an evidence-based quality assurance of qualifications, overseen by a new Accreditation Committee.
Alex Wright, Professor and Head of Architecture, University of Bath, said:
“I very much welcome the work that ARB is doing to create a new framework for architectural education and make new pathways to registration possible. I hope those in academia and practice take this opportunity to respond to the consultation to help shape ARB’s proposals. These are the most significant changes to architectural education for a generation, and this is our chance to ensure we have a flexible framework that facilitates innovation, and enables access to the profession for people from all backgrounds.”
Neal Shasore, Head of School and Chief Executive of the London School of Architecture, said:
“The London School of Architecture was set up to support ‘Alternative Routes for Architecture’ – more affordable and accessible to all. ARB’s reforms have the potential to empower learning providers in training the next generation of leaders in our industry ever more responsively, and with equity and sustainability at the heart of our teaching. Whatever stage you are at on the path to becoming an architect, I encourage you to take part and have your say in this consultation.”
Harsha Gore, M.Arch student, and Co-Director at Decolonise Architecture, said:
“Decolonise Architecture was established to embed inclusive behaviours and practices within architectural education and the profession. We hope the ARB’s proposals would help widen access to the profession, and we hope that behaviour, ethics, and diversity play a key role in the future of architectural professionalism. We’re keen for the new standards to encourage universities to broaden their learning and teaching resources to create a profession in which everyone is welcome, respected, and feels safe. We hope our fellow students respond to the consultation to help ARB’s reforms pave the way for a better, inclusive profession.”
ARB is encouraging anyone with an interest to complete the online consultation survey, which closes on Wednesday 10 May 2023. Once it has closed, ARB will analyse the responses and, based on the points raised, consider changes to the scheme. The Board will announce next steps by the autumn. Whilst the transition timelines are subject to consultation, it is ARB’s intention that anyone setting out to become an architect from September 2027 onwards will have to be trained and educated through the new, improved framework and assessed using the new learning outcomes.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
Full details of the proposals, including all draft documents, are available on ARB’s website at: arb.org.uk/tomorrows-architects
ARB has published additional documents to provide further information to those who wish to respond. These are, in chronological order:
The Architects Registration Board (ARB) is an independent professional regulator, established by Parliament as a statutory body, through the Architects Act, in 1997. It is accountable to government. The law gives ARB a number of core functions:
- To ensure only those who are suitably competent are allowed to practise as architects. ARB does this by approving the qualifications required to join the UK Register of Architects.
- ARB maintains a publicly available Register of Architects so anyone using the services of an architect can be confident that they are suitably qualified and are fit to practise.
- ARB sets the standards of conduct and practice the profession must meet and take action when any architect falls below the required standards of conduct or competence.
- ARB protects the legally restricted title ‘architect’.
For questions and information requests, please contact the ARB Communications team at firstname.lastname@example.org.