We are pleased to reveal both the proposed site and the exciting designs and plans for the home of the new Brian Clarke Church of England Academy, part of the Cranmer Education Trust.
Our school environment and the design of our school building will reflect the vision and mission for our school, and to follow the heart of our motto– Luceat Lux Vestra – Let your light shine (Matthew 5:16)
Our new school will be situated on an easily accessible, town centre site on Booth Street, formally occupied by a Sainsburys supermarket (now demolished).
In its place will rise a unique, high quality, light, airy and well-designed building, rich with colour, that will inspire the whole school community and lift aspirations.
It is our ambition that the building will include an original and unique stained-glass window, designed and produced by our patron Brian Clarke. This will celebrate our vision and values, shining light into our pupils’ learning and out into the community.
By providing an additional 240 places per year, which are open to and easily accessible for young people over a wide geographic area served by the current public transport network, we will provide parents with a new and exceptional choice of school in a high-achieving Trust which has a long-standing heritage of providing education in the town for over 180 years.
You can view the design and site plans in the gallery above and you can download a copy of the full architect “design and access statement” below:
Some key information from the document is also below:
In order to evoke ‘a sense of place’ we have referenced traditional building forms of Oldham and the North West and have developed a concept based around traditional mill buildings vernacular to the north west of England.
Traditionally the mill building is articulated as a multi storey masonry building with attached higher steam chimneys and lower weaving sheds. Conceptually the four storey building is the ‘mill’ with the higher lift tower as the ‘steam chimney’ and the lower halls blocks as the ‘weaving sheds’.
Each component is then given a material palette which responds to both its function and its reference point within the mill typology:
— The four storey building is multi storied, flat roofed, red brick building with well proportioned two storey high window bays along the length of its long elevations. Continuous soldier course brick banding articulates and ties together the head and cills of these windows to give the teaching block an overall homogenity.
— The gable ends of the four storey building are articulated as solid masonry ‘book ends’ which are deliberately punctuated by smaller windows to stairs and offices. This grounds the block at its extents whilst extensive curtain walling to the centre to provide views in to and out of the central atrium.
— The main entrance is located within the curtain walling to the eastern gable and further articulated by the higher lift tower ‘steam chimney’ with its brick soldier coursing and recessed brick panels. The lift core is topped by the building signage, much like the names of mills which would adorn the towers at their corners.
— Adjoining the four storey building to the south are the performance halls block and sports halls block which are articulated as contemporary ‘weaving sheds’, clad in standing seam and topped with vibrant ‘north lights’ to provide day light to these deep plan spaces.
Materials have been selected for their robustness and longevity, ease of maintenance and cleaning, as well as their aesthetic and conceptual properties, these include:
— Brick to the four storey building elevations. Largely red brick with horizontal banding details and some black brick accents as indicated on the elevations.
— Aluminium Standing Seam Cladding to the hall blocks elevations. Grey to mimic zinc with minimal flashings and black pressed recess details.
— Aluminium Sinusoidal Cladding to the hall blocks rooflights, both upstands and roofs, in vibrant colour to reference the sawtooth form of historic industrial buildings.
— Aluminium Doors, Windows, and Rooflights throughout, with minimal flashings and coordinated flat aluminium cladding panels to create double height windows as indicated on the elevations.
— Single Ply Membrane to flat roofs throughout, with siphonic drainage (four storey building) and gravity drainage (halls blocks). The use of red brick is synonymous with the textile mills of the north west, making it an obvious choice for the main material for the new building. As well as bringing a sense of place to the scheme it is robust and will help engender a sense of longevity and establishment to a new institution. Paired with a simple, well proportioned fenestration the teaching block is calm, distinguished and mature, all principals the school wishes to instil in its pupils.
The lightweight metal cladding to the two halls gives the private, lower plateau of the site a different character. The two halls which shelter the external courtyard space leading directly from dining are topped by vibrantly coloured red roof lights, reminiscent of the sawtooth weaving shed roofs seen in Oldham’s historic mills.
The form is evocative and the touches of colour add playful accents befitting of the buildings use as a school.
The overall composition is a balance of considered, controlled and mature brickwork with vibrant and playful elements; reflecting the balanced and well rounded nature of the schools young people.
The main entrance is located at the natural arrival point of the Middleton Road and Booth Street junction. Due to the site levels the main entrance is at upper ground floor level and at the eastern end of the central atrium which runs the length of the four storey building.
This allows the main reception to be located within a triple height space which creates a dramatic entrance space providing a sense of arrival for visitors and staff, with views up into the upper teaching suites.
The main reception is a secure lobby which is controlled by the adjacent general office and has access to dedicated interview and toilet facilities. The general office is an open plan office which is suited with four cellular offices, for more private administration work, and the reprographics and sick rooms.
From the secure lobby a library open learning area is located at the top off the Hellerup stair with views to the library through glazed screens at this level, up the central atrium to the learning suites above, and down the Hellerup stair to the main hall and dining hall below.
At this point the building announces itself as a learning environment with these key views of the learning activity and of key facilities such as the library, main hall, and dining hall. The main entrance sequence into the building is spatially exciting, evoking a sense of purpose and professionalism.
Students will take the steps down the side of the main hall from the entrance plaza located on the upper plateau, through a secure gate line, into the landscape.
Accessing the student entrance via the courtyard between the two hall blocks. The student entrance is at the lower ground floor level and provides a seamless transition between the external and internal social spaces, connecting the courtyard with the dining hall which also connects the lower ground floor level and the upper ground floor level with the rest of the building.
The student entrance is supported by a pastoral office and interview room adjacent to the dining hall. An adjacent seclusion room and staff workroom are also provided to complete the overall student pastoral support facilities, located in a readily accessible area for all students.
The enterprise suite is located adjacent to all three entrances, and consists of business, engineering, and technology related departments. At its centre, the double height dining hall provides opportunities for informal individual and group learning in support of the formal learning spaces.
At upper ground floor are the studio type spaces including four art rooms for general art, practical art, and textiles.
Opposite the art rooms are the computing and business rooms, which like the library have glazed frontages to display and celebrate learning resources throughout the building, complete with adjacent open learning area and staff work area.
At lower ground floor level are the workshop type spaces including interlinked resistant materials rooms which have each been subdivided into ‘clean’ and ‘dirty’ spaces for computers and machinery respectively, and are suited with a shared store and prep room.
In addition, these are adjacent to the external construction yard at the western end of the four storey building. Alongside the resistant materials rooms is food technology which is collocated with the kitchen and catering facilities.
The double height dining space will also act as a foyer space for the performance halls block which contains the main hall and interlinked drama hall which can be used as either a completely separated or integrated space via an acoustic sliding folding screen.
This enables the drama hall to be used as either a stage or backstage area during performances. This is supported by dedicated drama changing rooms and adjacent music suite consisting of classrooms and interlinked practice rooms.
The main hall is divided into four structural bays, each with its own entrance and exit doors, which will allow the future subdivision of the main hall either through sliding folding partitions or permanent partitions as the school requires.
In addition, the future provision of retractable bleacher seating in the main hall has also been allowed for to create the flexibility to use the space as a lecture theatre or as an enhanced performance space with theatre style seating.
The double height dining space also acts as a foyer space for the sports halls block which contains the activity hall and sports hall and their respective storage spaces. These are collocated with changing facilities.
The changing rooms are configured into suites of four changing rooms for thirty children with two staff and accessible changing rooms.
FIRST FLOOR LEVEL LEARNING SUITE
The first floor level learning suite collocates all the arts based subjects of english, languages, and humanities along with their associated staff, storage, and ancillary facilities. While notionally classrooms are owned by each subject their collocation allows each to flexibly expand or contract into each other as the timetable requires.
SECOND FLOOR LEVEL LEARNING SUITE
The second floor level learning suite collocates all the science based subjects of maths and science along with their associated staff, storage, and ancillary facilities. While notionally each space is owned by each subject their collocation allows practical and theoretical spaces to coexist and potentially support a more transformational pedagogy.
The majority of student toilets are provided on the lower ground floor level adjacent to the dining hall in anticipation of their use at break and lunch times and to support performances and events which may take place in the performance halls or sports halls.
The balance of student toilets are provided at first floor level and second floor level. All student toilets are designed with common wash areas to promote passive supervision and reduce issues traditionally associated with enclosed toilet areas.
Accessible toilets are located throughout the building at all levels according to building regulations and are also used as staff toilets. All accessible toilets are capable of being secured to prevent general access and usage.
Staff spaces are distributed throughout for passive supervision. Within the enterprise suite there is a staff workroom at lower ground floor level and another staff work area at upper ground floor level. At first and second floor levels staff work rooms are provided adjacent to the open learning areas.
Each work room or work area has sufficient capacity to accommodate a workstation and storage area for every teaching space within the relevant learning suite, complete with a tea point. In addition, the open learning areas can also provide further settings for staff working alongside student working.
The senior management team suite is located at the heart of the academy near the main entrance and overlooking the double height dining hall. This suite comprises of head teacher’s office with adjacent personal assistant office, and open plan offices for the deputy and assistant headteachers.
To the site’s upper plateau, the entrance plaza with new planting provides a positive first impression and provides accessible routes into the existing urban footpath and highway network, with parking, drop off, and service areas integrated into the wider landscape masterplan both within and outwith of the site boundary.
To the site’s lower plateau, the amount of usable external space has been maximised, vital on a constrained site which accommodates a large number of students, with excellent connections to the building.
To the south the building creates a sheltered courtyard between the performance halls block and sport halls block which provides sheltered external play and social spaces.
There are excellent connections to dining and the building’s internal social spaces, with good levels of passive supervision between and throughout the integrated internal and external social spaces, creating multiple settings for socialising with friends.
The sheltered courtyard extends to the south to a flexible ‘kick-about’ space which is located between the all weather sports pitches, creating a larger sports and activity hub, with multiple settings for more active play and sport.
Informed by the detailed levels strategy, the location of the sports and activity hub helps retain material on site whilst providing an easily supervised and manageable facility that will attract community use and offers potential for rental revenue.
Outdoor learning is supported throughout, for instance a construction and engineering skills outdoor teaching area is located close to the relevant internal teaching spaces, and adjacent to the service yard to facilitate easy delivery of equipment and materials.
In addition, the landscape masterplan creates new green spaces set amongst a simple network of trees species selected for their performance in urban areas. Sunnier areas will provide excellent climate for sensory perennial and ornamental shrubs including fruiting trees.
The all weather sports pitches have excellent connections to the building’s internal changing rooms. The pitches are designed to be dedicated formal facilities with ball stop fencing, sports pitch markings, and storage space for equipment.
The large 3G All Weather Pitch (AWP) measuring 65.0 x 47.0m in plan, including standard safety run off space, will bring enormous sporting and recreational benefits to the school. The pitch will be overmarked with two five a side pitches and further subdivided into six training pitches.
The Multi Use Games Area (MUGA) measuring 34.5 x 19.25m in plan, including standard safety run off space, has been sized for netball and is located to the west of the AWP, with the flexible kick about space between creating a range of additional games and skills practice areas.
The dividing nets to the AWP allow a greater range of games to be played and classes to be taught, and in total seven team games can be played on the AWP and MUGA simultaneously with additional practice and briefing space between each zone.
Planning permission is expected to be granted in the next few months and then work on our new school can start. So watch this space!
The Brian Clarke Church of England Academy is proud to be part of the Cranmer Education Trust
Cranmer Education Trust is a company limited by guarantee and an exempt charity. Company registration number: 07687709. Registered Office: Cranmer Education Trust, c/o Blue Coat School, Egerton Street, Oldham OL1 3SQ