Cassidy + Ashton’s plans approved for ‘inspirational’ Blackpool school building

Plans have been approved by Blackpool Council to construct an additional building specifically for year seven students at an academy in Blackpool.

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Designed by Cassidy + Ashton, Blackpool Aspire Academy’s new building will provide a dedicated space for incoming year seven students to begin their studies in a modern and supportive environment.

Construction onsite at Blackpool Aspire Academy is planned to commence in February 2022 and is expected to be completed before the next academic year starts in September 2022.

Blackpool Aspire Academy is sponsored by Fylde Coast Academy Trust (FCAT). Located on Blackpool Old Road, it provides secondary education to GSCE and BTEC levels for students aged between 11 to 16. Around 180 year seven students join the school every academic year.

Cassidy + Ashton’s new building design, based on the Academy’s existing campus, offers eight large classrooms and amenities in a single storey unit.

Alistair Baines, architect and chairman at Cassidy + Ashton said: “We have a long-standing working partnership with the Fylde Coast Academy Trust, providing architectural and design expertise to help them improve the learning environments they manage across the Fylde.

“By creating a dedicated space with modern facilities for the year seven students at the Blackpool Aspire Academy, our design offers spacious circulation and incorporates the benefits of natural ventilation to enable the students to learn healthily and interact in a safe and inspirational environment.”

Constructed in rendered composite materials with large, prefabricated windows, the new build will be in keeping with the Academy’s existing buildings including its signature green panelled exterior.

Natural ventilation, spacious classrooms and wide corridors are all an integral factor of Cassidy + Ashton’s design for the new building. This includes installing heat recovery units to enable fresh air ventilation and natural airflow throughout the classrooms that has proven to improve student learning.

Sean Bullen, FCAT director of education said: “’Aspire is well known for its ‘golden’ teaching culture, where each hour is a ‘golden’ hour of learning. It is literally all about aspiring to shine in all that they do and all they achieve.

“The team at FCAT are pleased to support the construction of this building, which will enable year seven students to transition from primary to secondary education with ease. It will also help the school set its high expectations from the ‘golden’ starter gun!”

John Woods, headteacher of Aspire Academy added: “As we grow as a school in terms of pupil numbers it is important that our facilities match this growth. The primary to high school transition is a key phase in a child’s education. Being able to support new starters in their own space will allow us to be more creative and flexible with the year seven curriculum.

“This is a really exciting project that will support our continued goal to maximise the life chances of all of our students and provide them with the ‘golden futures’ they deserve.”

Established in 2014, Blackpool Aspire Academy provides secondary education to over 900 students and works closely with external agencies to strengthen the community ethos and create a safe environment for its students to thrive. FCAT manages seven academies and three primary schools across the Fylde.

  • Royal Institute of British Architects - RIBA
  • Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors - RICS
  • Royal Town Planning Institute - RTPI
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