The development of town planning education in the United Kingdom can be traced back over at least sixty years and has always enjoyed a close relationship with practitioners, employers and the professional body, the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI). In order to ensure an intake of sufficient quality to a growing profession, the Institute offered its own exams until the 1980s and then initiated the current system of accrediting both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes of study. This system of accreditation emphasises the importance of relevant knowledge, skills and values as well as core and specialised studies. The vocational nature of town planning requires that graduates have the breadth of understanding as well as the practical skills in order to practice effectively. Thus accredited courses have over time developed strong links with employers and practitioners. Rapid developments in the scope and range of planning, and the skills needed to work in it, have reflected changes in public policy and growing number of agencies concerned with the built environment. The system of regular quinquennial visits to accredit courses has helped ensure that this acceptance of change has become part of the culture of planning schools
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