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Architecture head made 'fall guy' for De Montfort's ARB problems

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The University of De Montfort has caused dismay by relegating the head of its school of architecture, Dennis Radford, to a normal teaching post.

The move - understood to be in response to the school's ongoing problems with ARB prescription - is part of a radical restructuring programme.

The university's bosses have forced the school to merge with the department of product design, a measure which has left architectural teachers under the authority of Hassan Abdullah, who is not architecturally trained.

While Radford refused to comment except to confirm that he had lost his job, insiders in the school said he was 'treated as a fall guy'.

Radford was appointed to his position two years ago, just one month before the board inspection that recommended the school lose its ARB-prescribed status.

One source at the school told the AJ that Radford 'has been treated very badly'. 'It is incredibly unfair, ' he said. 'He has been treated as if all these problems with the ARB are his fault, but there was nothing he could have done.

'The university seems to think that by getting rid of the school's public face it can solve many of the problems. It can't, ' the source added.

Radford also has the support of student group Archaos. Co-chair and recent De Montfort graduate Ben Stone said he was 'extremely disappointed'.

'This is a terrible shame, ' he said. 'The problems at the school were well under way before Dennis arrived. He was really fighting to sort them out.

'Dennis is a very popular man among the student body for his efforts to sort out all the issues, but there was really very little he could do, ' Stone added.

But a spokesman for the De Montfort University authorities dismissed the criticism. 'The school of architecture has moved into a new department, called the department of product and spatial design, as part of a faculty-wide reorganisation, ' she said.

'This enables us to place architecture alongside design of interiors, furniture, product and industrial design, and we believe that prospective students will be inspired by the opportunities this offers.

'The new structure allows heads of departments to concentrate on academic management, and specialist architecture staff to concentrate on delivering high-quality teaching and research, ' she added.

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