The Academy specialises in vocational education, in particular science and drama, and aims to promote stronger links with the local community.
The Academy is organised around six learning centres which are designed to be as flexible and adaptable as possible. At the heart of each cluster is a social learning zone, which is open to general circulation. Here the classrooms have glazed walls that give a sense of openness and enrich the experience of walking through the building. The dedicated Sixth Form area overlooks an external dining court.
The theatre and dance spaces are conveniently located in the central wing, adjacent the main entrance, to ease access for members of the local community.
The 9.2Ha site falls dramatically over 30m from the south to the north. The new three storey building runs along the contour of the hill presenting itself as a long and low building that addresses the large landscape to the north. The facade design uses the length of the building to establish a rhythm of projecting and recessed bays, with the entrance bay set further back to give it a greater significance. On the south facade the hill is dug away to form a theatre court with terraced seating.