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Peace breaks out over education

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The riba looks to have succeeded in persuading the Architects Registration Board (arb) to back down and accede to its demands to have an equal say in the validation of architecture schools, after a long and embittered battle.

Subject to final clarification and legal documentation, both sides have agreed to joint validation, with the arb, in a new move, offering to pay all visiting board members. Sources on both sides suggest that a deal has been brokered between the two parties which will maintain the institute's important say in educational matters, though for some time it looked as if the arb would insist it took over entirely.

Barbara Kelly, chairwoman of the arb, said in a statement that the board was currently awaiting a response from the riba's education committee on suggestions it had tabled and that no formal understanding had yet been signed. But she added: 'arb is, however, delighted that it seems that the discussions will shortly be brought to a successful conclusion and is very much looking forward to working with riba to maintain and improve the standards of architectural education in the uk.'

Paul Hyett, the institute's vice president for education, aj columnist and the man largely credited with leading the battle for riba's continuing involvement, was cautious, but said: 'I'm very pleased that at long last we seem to have the basis for a workable agreement.'

riba's director of education Leonie Milliner said she hoped that the situation could be resolved, perhaps within the next month. 'Negotiations are ongoing but if they proceed as we hope then an agreement will be great.' She added that the institute's principal concern was for workability - which would have been threatened had only half the visiting board members been paid by the arb, as was originally suggested. The new arrangements on the table from arb seem to address that concern.

Solicitors from the two parties have been amending and discussing a 'travelling draft' of the procedure documents since Christmas. Now, a full agreement on the issue is envisaged around September.

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