Anger at funding cut plans for architecture courses in Scotland
Scottish architects have reacted angrily to plans that would cut funding for architecture students by 22 per cent
Many see the proposals, from the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), as an attack on the industry.
‘It’s appalling and ill considered, and we condemn it in the strongest terms,’ said Neil Baxter, secretary and treasurer at the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland. ‘We have been talking to the heads of schools about it and will be responding.’
The consultation outlines that funding would be allocated depending on which band courses have been placed in. Architecture has been classified in the lowest band D, along with media studies and modern languages, giving the course £5,000 a year per student.
Gordon Murray, professor in Architecture and Urban Design at The University of Strathclyde and chair of the Association of Scottish Schools of Architecture, said the SFC has failed to recognise that architecture is a studio-based curriculum that requires greater funding. ‘The inclusion of architecture in the proposed band D, a 22 per cent drop in the funding per FTE, is unjustifiable as we believe it is not possible to offer a validated course based on current QAA/ARB/RIBA benchmark criteria given the defined nature of architecture as a studio based curriculum.’
The SFC is taking responses to its consultation until 4 December. If approved, it would come into force in 2011/12.
Scottish Funding Council’s response:
We are consulting a new set of subject price groups in our teaching funding formula. These prices are at a sector level and are used to create block teaching grants for Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). It is up to a HEI to decide how it distributes its block grant amongst its departments and it does not have to follow our prices.
The subject price groups and associated prices in our consultation were arrived at by analysing information that HEIs provided on what they spent in different subject areas (the transparent approach to costing for teaching (TRAC(T)) return). We concluded that the sector-wide pattern of spend did support our existing system of 23 prices and have proposed a simpler system of four prices.
When we mapped our current system of 23 subject prices to our proposed new system of four there were some significant changes. However, the pattern of our proposed prices is what was suggested by our interpretation of the evidence on patterns of spend provided by the HEIs.
If we are to go ahead with any changes they must be on a sound basis and there are questions in our consultation which specifically ask for views on the robustness of the evidence we have received and our interpretation of it.