Your article 'Bartlett students 'are not ready for practice' say RIBA inspectors'(AJ 16.10.03), is confused and fundamentally wrong.
The Bartlett and its students are held in the highest esteem by the RIBA and indeed by the profession as evidenced by the streams of Bartlett graduates that populate some of the most celebrated offices in the country, including Foster, Rogers, Grimshaw and Wilkinson Eyre, to name but a few.
The article is confused because it implies that there has been a recent visiting board subsequent to the ARB/RIBA visit in February 2003, and notes that ARB will 'take this into consideration next time we (the ARB) assess its status'. Not true, there has been no sole RIBA visit. The report that went to RIBA Council last week was of the February 2003 joint visit with the ARB.
The article is repeatedly inaccurate. Although the visiting board report of the ARB/RIBA visit is confidential at present, I can tell you it does not say 'Bartlett students are leaving its diploma course unfit to practice in architecture', or that 'the diploma is too conceptual'. Nor are these the opinions of the RIBA.Moreover, there are no RIBA/school 'negotiations in an effort to solve the crisis' - there are no negotiations and there is no crisis to solve.
If the Bartlett, or other schools, has elements of its course as 'conceptual' or speculative, I for one would support this as a welcome part of an educational programme.
Both the RIBA and the Bartlett deserve a full retraction and an apology from the AJ.
Jack Pringle, vice-president, education, RIBA
Our report was based on a telephone interview with the RIBA staff member responsible for validation, who was secretary to the joint visiting board in February.
We now accept that those remarks were capable of more than one interpretation, and that while our report was published in good faith, it was inaccurate.We apologise for any embarrassment caused.