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Fury as UCE students fail in droves

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Astonished architecture students at the University of Central England (UCE) have been left horrified and disillusioned by some of the worst results in academic history.

A staggering 93 per cent failed their Part 1 examinations, throwing the UCE's school of architecture into turmoil. Only four out of the 66 full-time students managed to pass their three-year degree course, while only 43 per cent secured their diplomas.

Student body Archaos has already received complaints from angry undergraduates about their treatment by the school.A spokesman said: 'It appears some students have been treated unfairly in that they had been attentive, worked hard, had been led to believe their work was of a good standard, and were then failed without warning.

'Archaos feels this treatment was unacceptable, showed a lack of respect to the students and we would support these students, ' he added.

With the average pass rate for Part 1 exams nationally reaching nearly 89 per cent last year, the appalling results have understandably rocked the UCE's faculty of the built environment.

Peter Knight, vice-chancellor at UCE, said: 'The university is very concerned indeed about this unacceptable situation. The events in the School of Architecture are unprecedented.'

Yesterday (Wednesday), the university's senate was set to receive a full report about the results and it was expected it would 'place the course under special monitoring' in a bid to establish all the facts behind the faculty's failings.

It also vowed to appoint an 'expert external adviser' and to give disgruntled students extra support to help them pass their resits in September.

A spokesman for UCE added: 'The reasons are unknown at present, but a full investigation is happening now.'

Leonie Milliner, the RIBA's director of education, said: 'It's obviously a matter of concern.We have a regard for the general welfare of the students, and individuals contacted us directly for advice. If the student body as a whole requested it, we would consider having a discussion with the head of school about bringing forward a visiting board.'

However, the RIBA's visiting board is already scheduled to carry out an inspection of the school next year and has plans to scrutinise these latest results. Milliner added: 'If the visiting board found only four of the year had passed, questions would be asked.'

Jon Levett, head of education at the ARB, admitted the results may have longer-term effects.He said: 'At this stage it is an issue between the students and the university, and if they have any grievances we would advise them to exhaust all internal university procedures.

'The board does not have any policy on how many must pass and the results are not an issue in themselves. But where they could have an impact, and where we would be concerned, is in the long-term viability of the course, ' he added.

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