Madeley Academy is the fourth in the family of technology colleges and academies built by BHM in the Midlands starting with the Thomas Telford School in 1989. The Thomas Telford School were invited to help Telford & Wrekin District Council with Madeley Court School which was failing. In partnership they took over the failing school under the Headmastership of Vic Maher, one of the original deputy heads of Thomas Telford, and the turnaround began.
Improvements accelerated with the agreement of the Secretary of State to allow Madeley Court School to turn into Madeley Academy in a brand new building on an adjacent site.
Following a limited competition BHM was selected as the architect for the project. Fortunately, unlike most of the land in and around Telford contamination of by old mine works was limited but a significant amount of relandscaping was needed to get the right levels for playing fields and the new building. The academy, borrowing heavily from the experience of the team on the other academies, sits to one side of the site with the teaching wings springing off a central atrium space containing the multi-gym and dining hall.
On the other side of the site the team have designed and created a vocational training centre to give practical education to those students whose aptitude is less academic. This has a training facility for traditional trades such as bricklaying and plumbing as well as health and beauty.
"I have had the privilege of working with Barnsley Hewett and Mallinson on school designs since 1991 when I worked with John Cahill on refining the design for Thomas Telford School. Since then I have worked with the architects as a consultant on the design of Walsall, Sandwell and Hammersmith Academies.
I worked very closely with Richard Campanini on the design project for my own new build Academy at Madeley where the building bears the BHM hallmark of accurately fitting the educational brief. Academy designs can create permanent management problems if the educational functions are not properly addressed.
There is too often a preoccupation with visual impact and ill conceived approaches to learning that can leave a damaging legacy. BHM take time to understand the educational brief, they have a breadth of experience and understand how schools function. What I have appreciated is the genuine effort made to give the client what they want whilst willingly offering a hard message when required. Their buildings have a clear visual identity achieved through the use of balanced forms, interesting materials and sensitive colour schemes.
Madeley Academy is an excellent solution to the educational brief which takes advantage of a sloping site. BHM have succeeded in balancing the aesthetic and functional considerations and the solution has visual impact whilst functioning efficiently. Visitors are always impressed with what they see. The students and staff are very proud of ‘their’ building which has become an iconic landmark in the community. They have delivered what we wanted and within budget."
Vic Maher, MDes
Executive Head, Madeley and Milton Keynes Academies