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Planning Education Review update

Statement from the Chief Executive

In launching the Corporate Strategy in 2020, under Pillar four, Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity, we made a clear commitment to our members and stakeholders to undertake a detailed review – EDUCATION FOR EVERYONE. The stated aim of this review is to “broaden access to the pathways into chartered membership, to reach out to attract diverse talent, which will include reviewing the time taken, the delivery mechanisms and the content of courses”. Overall, its purpose is to ensure our approach fits our ambition to be more inclusive and to deliver our vision, to be the world’s leading professional planning body, and our mission, to advance the science and art of planning, working for the long-term common good and wellbeing of current and future generations. Fundamentally this is about attracting the brightest and best talents into our discipline and profession.

In 2022 we started a programme of research and engagement to inform a direction of travel. It’s fair to say that undertaking such a task was never going to be without its challenges, and as we approach the midpoint of 2023 it seems appropriate to pause and take stock of the rich variety of views and consultation responses we have received to date. Thriving planning education and research is vital to the future of the profession, and our partnership with our accredited planning schools is critical to this. In this period of rapid change across the education sector, its right that we take the time to get this right. We remain completely committed to pillar four of the corporate strategy, but we recognise there is still more work to do to fully understand all of the implications of any possible changes, such as length of undergraduate courses. We want to take time to better understand and test proposals with our world leading planning schools.

Whilst we take stock of all the evidence gathered and the many contributions made to our consultation to date, we’ll undertake a diagnostic of what further work is required with a view to undertaking this in the autumn. We are very grateful for all the helpful contributions to date. Whilst I appreciate this delay may come as a frustration to some, I’m pleased to update you that the Education and Life Long Learning Committee has decided to lift the current moratorium on new course accreditation approval. As the world moves on quickly and the need for more planners in the UK and Ireland, and globally, see’s no sign of slowing down, we are very keen to look at new and innovative courses that will help deliver planners for the future.

At the heart of the review is wanting to attract more people into the planning profession for the public good. Whilst last week’s announcement on bursaries for postgraduates in England and our partnership with Public Practice can go some way to addressing the deficit, our ‘state of the profession’ research published this week shows the number of planners has remained relatively flat, and there is still much to do.

We thank all RTPI members and stakeholders for your continued support and patience and we look forward to reaching out again over the course of this year to ensure that all voices are heard. It is very important that all potential impacts are fully assessed and considered by the Board of Trustees prior to a final decision, and that the RTPI retains, and grows, our position as the world leading provider of planning education.


Further background information can be found here.

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