Kettering Buccleuch Academy


Kettering Buccleuch Academy a new, all-through school with an intake of 1800 children ranging in age from 4 to 19. It is part of the United Learning group of schools. The brief demanded a building that expressed the unity of the school whilst also expressing the identities of the primary and secondary elements. Equally important was the school's desire to forge closer links with, and have a higher profile in the community.

The academy is organized around a central hub of accommodation comprising the main performance spaces - theatre, drama studios, primary hall and studio, with open plan art studios above. A triple-height atrium wraps around this hub providing access to the secondary school's three teaching wings and a ribbon of paired primary classrooms wrapped around an enclosed private courtyard.

We wanted the Kettering Buccleuch Academy building not only to provide a high-quality learning environment but also to support our own particular ethos and be both operationally and environmentally efficient. This was no small task but Nicholas Hare Architects listened to, and worked with, us closely and then used their expertise to produce a truly excellent design.
Martyn Baker, Senior Projects Director, United Learning


The new academy brought together an existing secondary school with a primary school, which was in a separate location. The amalgamation of the two in a single building required extensive engagement and collaboration to ensure that both schools could benefit from the co-location and that the security and safety of younger pupils was not compromised.


The art, textiles and ceramics spaces at Kettering Buccleuch Academy were combined into a single space – an ‘art barn’ above the main hall. This large, north-lit volume, which also includes a zone for 6th-formers, a staff workbase and a rooftop art terrace, is a vibrant and inspiring place for creativity and artistic expression.

This may well be the best new school building in the country.
Jon Coles, Group Chief Executive, United Learning

Our Team

  • Paul Baxter
  • Darren Jones
  • Matthew Petford
  • Edwina Rusk
  • Jeremy Whall

Project Team

  • Client: United Learning
  • Client: Northamptonshire County Council
  • Cost Planning: Willmott Dixon
  • Structural Engineer: Cox Turner Morse
  • Services Engineer: Hoare Lea
  • Landscape Architect: Fabrik
  • Sustainability Consultant: Hoare Lea
  • Acoustician: Sound Research Laboratories Ltd.
  • Fire Engineer: Arrowebrook
  • Contractor: Willmott Dixon
  • Photography: Jim Stephenson