Ashton Campus

Ashton Campus is an inclusive community learning campus that successfully co-locates a 1,650 place secondary school - New Charter Academy - with the 160 place Samuel Laycock School for children with moderate learning difficulties. The campus promotes student and community access to education, sport and business enterprise facilities and has made a significant contribution to local social and economic regeneration.

During the design stages, different relationships between the two schools were explored, with options ranging from co-location to full integration. The solution - locating Samuel Laycock School on higher ground and linking into the middle floor of New Charter Academy – has allowed each school to maintain its identity, whilst benefitting from being part of the larger academy.

Community learning campus

Tameside, England




March 2010 – September 2011

September 2011

Planning, design and decision making were capable and responsive and most importantly empathetic and acknowledged the exceptional challenges in meeting the needs of our children.

D McIlroy

Finding a home

The campus is designed to ensure that each child – recognising age and vulnerability – is able to find their own ‘home’ within a community of over 1,800 children, while being able to take advantage of more extensive facilities only possible through co-location.

To achieve this, the campus is based on the principle of ‘schools within schools’. This inventive approach, recognised by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) as an exemplar of best practice, allows each student cohort to maintain a sense of ownership and identity within the overall academic community. 

Ashton Campus Tameside School Natural Daylighting Skylight Atrium Sp
Ashton Campus Tameside School Entrance Plaza L

The academy consists of five ‘home bases’, each self-sufficient and consisting of flexible classrooms overlooking a double height open learning space. The ‘home bases’ are linked to an internal street which widens to create a business and enterprise forum, a facility dedicated to raising awareness of the world of opportunities beyond Tameside, and raising aspirations in this particularly challenging area.

Samuel Laycock School employs a similar concept with individual ‘home bases’ and classroom facilities connected to a 'boomerang' spine of open specialist learning areas. Here, an informal learning experience based around thematic project work provides a transformational learning environment.

A school for the community

FaulknerBrowns delivered an exciting, high quality learning environment, strengthening the school’s position as a key part of Tameside’s local offer. The response of visitors is always exceptionally positive.

D McIlroy